TV Review: 'The Suite Life Movie'
Filed under: TV
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is in the same humorous, tween-friendly vein as its preceding series, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and "The Suite Life on Deck." Much of the comedy is found in the contentious relationship between the twins, so kids might find some laughable similarities in their own experiences with siblings. One scene shows Cody getting joy out of watching his brother subjected to electric shock therapy, but tweens will understand the underlying humor in the exchange and see how it illustrates the strides the guys make in their relationship. Overall the movie's lasting messages about empathy and bridging differences will make an impression, so this is a fairly worry-free choice for tweens.
The good stuff
- Messages: The movie's themes include respecting others and bridging differences between friends and family. Brothers must overcome their differences to save themselves and other subjects of a dangerous research project. Zack is a chronic rule-breaker, but he usually manages to find a way to make up for the damage he causes.
- Role models: Zack's proclivity for troublemaking causes stress for Cody, and the two are at odds for most of the movie, but when they're forced to see things through each other's eyes, they learn to appreciate their differences.
What to watch out for
- Violence: A scientific experiment causes Zack to receive several electrical shocks, which Cody enjoys out of vengeance. When the guys find their feelings are tied to each other, each one hits and pinches himself to inflict pain on the other. But in typical Zack and Cody style, all of this content is played for humor.
- Sex: Some brief but strong flirting between teens, and a girl uses her looks to influence Cody to take part in a scientific experiment despite his better judgment.
- Language: In one scene, Cody tells Zack, "I hate you."
- Consumerism: The movie is tied to the characters' two previous shows, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and "Suite Life on Deck."
- Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Not an issue.
Spring break is on the horizon, and Cody (Cole Sprouse) is counting the days to the start of his prestigious marine biology internship. Unfortunately, his plans interfere with the ones that his girlfriend, Bailey (Debby Ryan), has made for them, causing her to give him the silent treatment. Even worse, during Cody's orientation at the marine reserve, his twin brother, Zack (Dylan Sprouse), shows up and causes a ruckus, getting Cody fired and causing a rift between them. Zack tries to patch things up by getting the brothers involved in secret research at the nearby Gemini Project, but the guys soon discover that something's amiss among the participants. When the brothers start to experience each other's feelings and sensations, they must set aside their differences and tap into what connects them to uncover the truth behind the Gemini Project.
Is It Any Good?
"The Suite Life Movie" is the latest incarnation in the popular chronicles of twins Zack and Cody, and tween fans of their previous shows will find plenty of familiar content in this funny story. The boys are getting pretty grown up, but their polar-opposite personalities are still intact, which makes for a heap of laughs at each other's expense. Add to that their new ability to think and feel what the other does, and you can imagine the mayhem that ensues, culminating in a physical brawl between the guys as each inflicts pain on the other by hitting himself.
The movie makes an effort to push some positive content about sibling relationships and showing empathy, so there's some good to come of your tweens tuning in. Parents' only concern (aside from the expected implausibility of the story itself, of course) may be in the apparent joy the guys get from irritating and hurting each other -- including a couple of instances of Zack being subjected to electrical shock at Cody's hands -- but most kids will understand how that content relates to the movie's humor and helps illustrate the strides the brothers make in their relationship over the course of the story.
This review of "The Suite Life Movie" was written by Emily Ashby.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.