Reviewed by: Keith P. Soencksen
|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|
|Producer:||Avi Arad, Eric M. Breiman, Benedict Carver, Kyla Kraman, Isaac Larian, Steven Paul|
“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.