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High School Musical Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

A modern-day Grease for tweens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie is hugely popular with tweens -- and has spawned its own marketing empire, from CDs to clothes to video games. Its sanitized depiction of high school may not ring true to older teens, but tweens will get strong messages about acceptance and being true to yourself -- as well as about supporting your friends when they want to try something new. A father-son relationship is tested when the boy asserts his independence, and there are some near-kisses between the lead couple, but overall this is tame stuff.

  • Families can talk about peer pressure and how to resist it. How can teens stand up to friends who belittle their choices or talents?
  • Are the movie's characters good role models? What do you think the filmmakers want kids to take away from watching this movie?
  • Why is it important to try new things?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: No direct educational content, but kids will probably learn lots of song lyrics!

  • message true1

    Messages: Strong, clear positive messages about being true to yourself and reaching outside your comfort zone.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The female lead is praised and appreciated for her academic ability. One central character tries to cheat but eventually sees the error of her ways. The cast is diverse. Troy and his dad exchange some heated words, but they reach an understanding that works for both of them.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence and scariness: Not applicable

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Mild flirting, with the teenage leads almost sharing a kiss in the final scene. There's one kiss on the cheek, and Efron is shirtless in one scene.

  • language false0

    Language: "Shake your booty" pops up in song lyrics.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Part of a gigantic marketing machine fueled by Disney.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable