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Movie Review

Bratz

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements

Reviewed by: Keith P. Soencksen
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Preteen girls
Genre:
Musical, Animation, Fantasy
Length:
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
August 3, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate
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Featuring: Logan Browning (Sasha), Janel Parrish (Jade), Nathalia Ramos (Yasmin), Skyler Shaye (Cloe), Chelsea Staub, Anneliese van der Pol, Malese Jow, Ian Nelson, Stephen Lunsford, Jon Voight (Principal Dimly), Lainie Kazan, William May, Emily Everhard, Chet Hanks, Carl Rux, Kim Morgan Greene, Sasha Cohen, Andrea Edwards, Constance Hsu, Tami-Adrian George, Kadeem Hardison, Sean Patrick McNamara, Lee Reherman, Daniel Booko, Zach Cumer, Jerad Anderson, Scot Nery, Brando Murphy, Sarah Hernandez, DJ Rick Adams, Jackie Kreisler, Damian Daly, Kelly Crean, Steven Anthony Lawrence, Michael Stellman, Nina Luna, Susie Singer Carter, Paula Froelich, Haley Busch, Jordan Benedict, Emma Raimi
Director: Sean McNamara
Producer: Avi Arad, Eric M. Breiman, Benedict Carver, Kyla Kraman, Isaac Larian, Steven Paul
Distributor: Lionsgate

“Out of the box.”

If you’re wondering why a 41-year old man would go see a movie about some stuck up high school girls, it’s not what you might think. Far from it. The real reason? I’ve got 4 daughters. I’ve seen all the Bratz merchandise in stores, and the 8-to-13 year old girls that try to look and act twice their age, and with “Bratitude”. So my ultimate goal was to see if this movie contained the worldly self-absorption that I suspected it would, and if so, to present a Christian perspective on it, if only to stop even one parent from giving their tween 20 bucks and dropping them off at the mall to see it.

Let’s be blunt: this movie is just plain stupid. The script is horribly forced. The acting is about what you’d expect out of a high school drama class. The plot is lame, and most of it is not even mildly believable. The few attempts at humor fall totally flat. There are simply no redeeming qualities, and plenty of at least mildly objectionable content. All of this adds up to exactly what I expected: a bad influence on young girls.

The story centers around four new freshmen at Carry Nation High School: Cloe, Sasha, Yasmin, and Jade. I guess trend-setters need to have trendy names. The movie’s villain is Meredith, the ultra stuck-up student body president, who runs the school and is not about to allow the four newbies to become popular. The plot oscillates predictably back and forth between battles won by Meredith and battles won by the Bratz. Viewers are treated to such fine upstanding entertainment as a food fight, an “all about me” Sweet 16 party, and a Talent Show minus the talent. The scenes display no shortage of teens sporting bare midriffs, mini (very mini) skirts, bikinis, belly rings, stiletto heels, and fishnet stockings. The dancing is at times risque, and the music not much better.

To be fair, I’d have to note that the language is considered mild, and that there’s no sex, nudity, violence, drugs, or alcohol in the movie. So what’s the big problem? Isn’t it just “good vs. evil”? Well, no. The four best friends are portrayed as the film’s heroines, aimed ultimately at unseating Meredith from her privileged pedestal. But are they worthy of this lofty position? Do they present good role models for young Christian women? Hardly. The movie attempts to force-feed us with a sappy “friendship is the most important thing” theme, but it fails to inspire even a hint of emotion because we just can’t get past all the gaudiness, the obsession with fashion and shopping, the thick make-up, and the corny, caddy teenage lingo: “Like, oh my gosh, like, for real? Totally.” Each of these girls owns enough clothes and shoes to supply a small 3rd-world country. The Lord’s name is taken in vain a dozen or so times (exclusively in the form “OMG”). One of the girls openly defies her parents by dressing in acceptable clothes until she gets to school, then changing into her “cool” clothes at school. Now there’s a fine example for our girls! Christians will find very little worth emulating in these four.

Meredith’s obsession with herself is so over-the-top that her character doesn’t come across as the least bit believable. She publicly reprimands her father, and of course, her father backs down (sadly, this is not so far from reality these days). Meredith’s younger sister is even worse, if that’s possible. But, while the film was probably trying to create the appearance of “good vs. evil,” it’s clear that this is really a case of “bad vs. really bad.”

Bottom line: there is nothing here that any young Christian girl needs to see. Boys will probably be bored out of their minds. My advice is to skip this movie, and not allow young impressionable Christian women to see it either.

Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—My daughter has wanted to see this movie since seeing the reviews on TV. I was skeptical, knowing the direction that many movies take these days. I did note that the movie was PG, and not PG-13, but based on a recent bad experience with another PG film, I wanted to check the reviews before watching the movie. The review on this site wasn’t up yet, so I did a search for other Christian or parental movie reviews and on reading them decided to see the movie. I went with my teenage daughter to see the movie, and while I consider myself conservative, there was very little content in the movie that I found objectionable—the one exception being the use of the Lord’s name in vain, what started out in the beginning of the movie as “Oh my gosh” turned to using the Lord’s name in vain in the same phrase later in the movie. As for the clothing, there was very little in the line of dress that I found overly offensive or obviously revealing. There was a pool scene where there was a gal in a bikini, but even that had no suggestiveness to it.

I didn’t see any of the outright disrespect or rebellion toward parents that you see in many of today’s movies. There was the one brat who came to school in very conservative school-girl type clothing but changed as soon as she got to school, while her friends formed a “huddle” around her; but in my opinion, the clothing she changed into was modest and not really objectionable; it was just more fashionable, and as she was a fashion designer, I got the impression it was clothing she designed herself or perhaps just her own flair for fashion, accessories, and design.

One of the girls made light of her parent’s divorce, referring to duplicate gift certificates given to the girl, one from each parent; however, it seemed to me that the girl wasn’t really trying to make light of the situation, but was instead, trying to help a friend by sharing one of the gift certificates with them, but doing so in a manner that might make the other girl more comfortable in accepting the gift. The girls seemed really respectful of their parents and willing to go out on a limb to help their parents out and also to stand up for their parents. I saw no sex or sexual situations, no suggestiveness, vulgarity or lewdness, no cursing (though there was use of the Lord’s name in vain in the phrase Oh my ___), no parental rebellion, and even the clothing to me was okay, I didn’t notice anything outright revealing or suggestive in nature and we dress conservatively; if if was there, it went right over my head. Overall, I left the theater very pleasantly surprised. I found Bratz to be a clean, respectable film. I was glad we went to see it and thankful that the producers worked real hard to keep it a film that parents would not object to children or teenagers watching.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Melisa, age 35
Negative
Negative—I have two daughters(7, and 10), and both of them have been attracted to the Bratz toys, shows, etc., more than once. When one asked for a Bratz doll one year I visited Target and was shocked at what I saw. The whole Bratz “look” and “lifestyle” consists of girls wearing revealing outfits, getting vulgar attitudes about life, adults, and other people, and becoming obsessed with who can make out with the cutest boy first. I went to see the movie in hopes of it maybe adding up to some of the high moral that previous movies this year achieved for children. The “Bratz” movie IS NOT a movie that you need your daughters going too and getting an impression on. After I saw it, I went home to explain a few things to my children, starting with, girls will never get someone who truly loves them and will take care of them if they flirt and set their mind on kissed by boys. They do not have to wear revealing outfits and grow up to be rockstars to be happy. I want my children to have an attitude of respect for themselves and other people. And that is why I do not recommend this movie. Some movies I do recommend though, are: “Nancy Drew” and “Meet The Robinsons,” these are movies with good role models for your children.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Andrew, age 30
Comments from young people
Neutral—I went there thinking it would be a totally fun movie and I wasn’t disappointed!! I went to see it with my best friend, Abby, and we laughed all through it. I loved how there was a rebellion against the clicks and that the “Bratz” weren’t afraid to stand up to the mean girl. They did say Oh my G-O-D like 5 times but that’s it! DEFINITELY a good movie to take younger girls to. I always used to love playing with my Bratz dolls so it was fun seeing a movie with them in it. Rather cheesy, but yet fun and enjoyable. Not the best though. I’d wait until it is in cheap theatres.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Emily, age 12
Negative—I hate growing up to movies that try to force the “Bratz Attitude” on young girls. First of all, a brat means a snot, a jerk, and a shallow being who doesn’t care about anything other than fads. I don’t get up in people’s faces, get revenge on classmates, or faint every time a boy walks in and yet I’m considered weird to my classmates. I want to be respected, not to be a fad. There are tons of other movies that actually have a good moral to them. Go see those movies, not a movie that says it’s okay to be a brat.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
—Lauren, age 14
Neutral—I went there thinking it would be a totally fun movie, and I wasn’t dissapointed!! I went to see it with my best friend, Abby, and we laughed all through it. I loved how there was a rebelion against the cliques and that the “Bratz” weren’t afraid to stand up to the mean girl. They did say Oh my G-O-D like 5 times but that’s it! DEFINITELY a good movie to take younger girls to. I always used to love playing with my Bratz dolls so it was fun seeing a movie with them in it. Rather cheesey but yet fun and enjoyable. Not the best though. I’d wait until it were in cheap theatres.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Emily, age 12
Positive—This movie was very cute. It showed the bond for mother and daughter and the friendship bond of four friends in high school. It also shows that best friends will go through anything for each other. It was the furthest from friends trying to see who can kiss a guy first. I would recommend this movie to girls who have a passion for fashion.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Chrissy, age 17
Positive—This is a great movie for any age from 9 on up I love it (I own it) my mom liked it and so did my Mimi (Grandmother) It’s cleam but not sickinly sweet. It has no bad language or sexual content . A great tale of friendship lasting though problems and always being there for your pals plus a little innocent romance. I give it 5 stars
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jessica, age 17
Comments from non-viewers
I would like to first point out that I have NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE. I didn’t think it was even worth watching. I can’t even understand WHY people think that brats are so great anyway. I have no clue why anyone would like to watch this. Reading the review, I saw it as a shallow, boring and extremely materialistic movie. It focuses on unimportant and worldly things, such as being “popular.” This may be just my opinion, but I don’t want to pay money to see 4 bratty girls wearing tight, tiny clothes, obsessing over boys and thinking that being “popular” is the most important thing in the world.
—Carli, age 12