Totally Spies! The Movie

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Totally Spies! The Movie TV Poster Image
Teen heroines are, like, terrible role models for tweens.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The movie makes little effort to incorporate any positive messages for the female tween audience it’s geared toward. The characters are one-dimensional, the show is completely unrealistic, and there are no lessons to be found. The female heroines are portrayed as emotional and catty compared to the male characters, which overruns any messages about girl power. On the upside, the show does demonstrate the benefits of teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The character pool runs the gamut of traits parents dread in tween girls. Clover is obsessed with her appearance and throws herself at any handsome guy she meets. Sam and Alex are lesser offenders, but their positive attributes (athleticism and book smarts) are downplayed in favor of fashion statements and irritating dialogue. In-crowd queen Mandy terrorizes the school with the power she wields over her peers, all of which goes unchecked by a mean but ineffective principal. To their credit, they do use some quick thinking to get out of a few jams during their mission.

Violence

Aircraft shoots missiles at other planes and at people; a handful of scenes include hand-to-hand fighting with punching and kicking. Violence is limited to small segments of the movie, but characters’ actions have few real-life outcomes. The team narrowly escapes colliding with Earth on a detonator missile, for instance.

Sex

Nothing physical, but Clover has a huge -- and very distracting -- crush on a fellow agent and flirts shamelessly with him (eyes turn into hearts at the sight of him, blushing all over, that sort of thing).

Language

No cursing, but plenty of stuff parents probably won’t want their kids repeating, including “stupid,” “piehole,” “geek,” and “lame-o.”

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there’s little redeeming quality to this grating tween-targeted movie inspired by the TV series of the same name. The teen heroines are a slang-talking, image-obsessed bunch who dig clothes, guys, and, well, themselves. These negative qualities are played up at the expense of fledgling themes like teamwork and respect. If your tweens are already familiar with these characters from the show, then little will surprise them, but if they’re not, be forewarned that this “prequel” movie might pique their interest in the series as well. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 10, 11, 12, 15, and 17 year old Written byAlyssa_299 July 31, 2010

Cool show

Just my girls see this show. They really like it. And so do i
Parent of a 12 year old Written byemmykaykay June 14, 2010
my kids LOVE this and have watched it forever
Kid, 12 years old June 6, 2010

This is and OK show for kids 7+

Well you are right about the violence and languadge but the sex isn't a big issue.The girls always work together and when they try to find their way out of... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 11, 2015

Good Film and more appropriate than the TV series

The film shows the story off how the teenage girls which just moved to Beverly Hills who become friends and spies the violence is not as much as the tv series a... Continue reading

What's the story?

TOTALLY SPIES! THE MOVIE chronicles the story behind Clover, Alex, and Sam -- a trio of secret agents who fight crime for the World Organization of Human Protection. Unbeknownst to them, the girls are recruited by WHOOP because of unique skills each one possesses, and they’re thrown together at Beverly Hills High School before their agent training starts. Soon after, they’re tasked with their first mission: to solve a rash of mysterious disappearances around town, which seem to be related to a fashion-altering machine at the local mall and a fallen fashion model named Fabu (Karl Lagerfeld).

Is it any good?

If your tweens have tuned in to the show that inspired this movie, then they’re already familiar with this flavor of entertainment and won’t be struck by its reliance on stereotypes. But if the characters are new to them (and you), it’s a good idea to think it through before giving them the go-ahead. The female-led cast is a catty, trendy, and self-obsessed bunch, often pausing from their makeup and clothing only long enough to check out the guys nearby. Mean-girl Mandy clearly isn’t a heroine, but her obnoxious behavior -- which never garners consequence -- blends in more than it stands out amid the chaotic pace of this movie.

The bottom line? This story misses an opportunity to show girls in a positive role displaying teamwork, resolve, and concern for others. Instead it trips up on distractions like flirting with guys and obsessive accessorizing. If you're still on the fence, consider this: Like, do you want your tweens talking like these girls? As if.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss stereotypes. What stereotypes exist in this movie? How extreme are they? Can stereotypes exist without being offensive? Who determines what is acceptable and what’s not?

  • Do you notice a difference between how girls and boys are portrayed on TV or in the movies? What shows do you know of that cast strong female leads? What characteristics do those heroines share? How do the characters in this show compare?

  • Tweens: What special talents do you possess? How do you put those skills to use? How might they help you in a future career? What resources exist for honing your talents?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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