Still mourning the death of her mother a few years back, Alice McKinley finds her life seriously disrupted when her father Ben buys a store and moves her and her older brother Lester to a new town. In the painful throes of... more » adolescence, Alice has a rough time adjusting to her new school, especially after she gets the stern Mrs. Plotkin as her core teacher. Feeling shy and isolated, Alice frequently escapes into a vivid fantasy life that occasionally gets her into hot water. But with a little unexpected help from Mrs. Plotkin, Alice learns not to judge by appearances or jump to conclusions. More importantly, she confronts her father over his inability to accept their loss and move on into the future.« less
Elizabeth B. (bethieof96) from NINETY SIX, SC Reviewed on 5/23/2015...
This is a movie with some life lessons for young girls. This girl learns that it isn't always just about her.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Great cast but a bit slow
Mahlers2nd | 07/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie about a girl who has to start life over again in a new town just as she enters the most awkward time of life -- middle school. Her mother passed away when she was five and she doesn't have any maternal role models.
The cast has a lot of potential to put together an outstanding movie. I have watched Alyison Stoner grow up on Disney as "Mike's spunky (and smarter) sister" on the quickie "Mike's Supershort Show". She has developed into a fine young actress and obviously has a lot of talent in terms of acting, singing and even dancing. Lucas Grabeel of High School Musical fame is given a better opportunity to be a likable character and show his talent.
In a way, this movie reminds me of a tragic version High School Drama Queen with Lindsey Lohan. You watch as everything goes wrong for Alice and after awhile, you just wish SOMETHING would go right... And if the stuff that went wrong was somewhat funny, it would be easier to take. But very little of it is funny... just sad.
It tries to involve too many themes and does none of them justice. You find yourself feeling like you came in in the middle and missed critical pieces. Like what happened to her mom? Who is the lady they left behind in Chicago and why does the dad want to get away from her when she clearly was a help to Alice? Lucas' character gets caught dating 2 girls at the same time but we didn't even realize that he was dating one of them so that scene just seemed out of place. The dad starts dating an old high school friend but once again, that never gets fully fleshed out and doesn't really seem to be relevant.
Despite the shortcomings, I would still recommend the movie -- particularly if you have a tween-ager. I started watching this movie with my son who just started sixth grade today and his experience was pretty similar to Alice's. Kids won't be bothered by the continuity stuff but they will be able to relate to the awkwardness and the feeling that nothing ever goes their way. And, in the end, Alice does finally find her way so the movie ends on a high-note."
A Light Family Film With A Few Heavy Issues
K. Fontenot | The Bayou State | 07/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Alice Upside Down," based on the "Alice" series of books from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor explores the ups and downs of being a pre-teen girl. Alyson Stoner ("Camp Rock," "Mike's Super Short Show") portrays Alice McKinley, a young girl who's mother died when she was five and has grown up with her big brother Lester (Lucas Grabeel of "High School Musical") under the guidance of their widowed father, Ben (Luke Perry, "Jeremiah," "Eight Seconds," "Beverly Hills, 90210").
Moving into a new town can be tough for a young girl, especially if she's a tomboy with a wild imagination. Alice feels that she can't do anything right and always seems to end up in embarassing situations. She dislikes her new teacher, has a tough time making friends and doesn't understand why girls think her brother is cute. Lester seems to have adjusted to his new home quite nicely. He's in a band, has a few girls after him and his grades are decent enough. Ben has also adjusted to his new digs. His music shop is a success and he's started a relationship with an old friend.
While this sounds like a typical Disney Channel or Nickelodeon film, there are some tough issues that are addressed. Ben struggles with the loss of his wife. He also battles his relatives over how to properly bring up his children. Alice deals with all of the normal problems that face young teens and pre-teens, but her mother's death weighs heavy on her as well. She is desperate to fit in, but her male-driven upbringing makes her stick out like a sore thumb. She also has a problem of forming an opinion of people before actually getting to know them. This especially comes into play when a supposed villain becomes a best friend.
The cast is excellent. The youngsters in the film do a fine job. There's a slight "Babysitters Club" vibe running through the whole picture, and they convey this with ease. Two of the adults should be easily recognized. One is the aforementioned Perry and the other is the wonderful director/actress Penny Marshall. Marshall's role is a bit limited, but her character is key to the development of the story.
What's best about this film is the fact that the adults face up to their problems without the usual "all is lost" mentality. The kids act like kids, and respond as expected. Alice does act a bit older than she really is, but she's the voice of reason for the young audience. She actually gives some solid advice to younger viewers.
This DVD comes with two brief and very unnecessary interviews with Stoner and Grabeel. They basically answer questions culled from the pages of "Bop" and "Tiger Beat." Also included is a brief featurette on the many costumes that Alice dons during the film and trailers for upcoming films.
While the heavier issues in this film might be depressing, this film is primarily lighter fare. The bond between Ben and his children is nice to see on film and I'm glad that teachers are shown in a positive light. Also, the kids aren't strung out on drugs or having sex every five minutes.
Overall, "Alice Upside Down" is a positive film about dealing with day-to-day issues for junior high kids. It's not the most moving film out there and the humor is primarily geared towards the pre-teen set, but your entire family should enjoy this film. Recommended to anybody with kids aged six and up."
Awesome tween movie
M. Castillo | Cicero, IL | 08/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alice Upside Down is a great book series for children. The movie was really good as well. It stars Alison Stoner of Camp Rock and Lucas Grabeel of the High School Musical Movies.
Basically the story is about a young girl about 12, who lost her mother at a young age. She has had to grow up with only men around, therefore she is more tomboyish. She longs to be sylish, as in where super cute clothes, and to be popular and fit in. She can't sing, but trys out for the school musical to be close to the ultra pretty new teacher.
Along the way, Alice learns about herself and that being coll and popular isn;t all what it's cracked up to be. She finds her place and gains some slef esteem.
This is a great family movie, and perfect for girls 8-13. I recommend it."
Good film for an average day.....
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 08/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie wasn't bad at all. There is so much that's generic and junky about Alice Upside Down that it's hard to pick out the bright spots, though the issues involved in this carries the film for me.
Penny Marshall's appearance as Mrs. Plotnik has a nice resonance--that is, until the script gives her a medical crisis to test Alice's new-found allegiance. Luke Perry looks realistically lost in dealing with his onscreen daughter's dilemmas. But then he turns around and rejects the advances of a successful former classmate because he has "too much on his plate." Huh? Perhaps the most endearing character is big brother Lester. With his Kewpie doll face and slacker shaved head, he comes across as relatively well-adjusted. Sure, he picks on his sister relentlessly and is seen as kind of a womanizing sneak, but he also comforts Alice when she's down and does a good job of being there when the circumstances require. Lucas Grabeel, of High School Musical fame, does a good job of traversing his mandated territory quite well. Too bad everything else about Alice Upside Down couldn't be so casual and carefree. It's the perfect example of forced family fare. Recommend for mild entertainment. "
Excellent family film
Burritoman "USA" | Pennsylvania | 08/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's hundreds (if not thousands) of films aimed at the pre-teen and teen markets that aim to provide a valuable life lesson. This is certainly nothing new. But many of those films also suffer from a distinct lack of anything resembling reality, so the target audience often finds the lessons lost or muddled in between all the flash and fantasy. Not so with this one. The lead performers all look and (more often than not) act "real". And with the decent production values and good performances, the message of "Alice Upside Down" comes through loud and clear, and rings true. Recommended."