Parents' Guide to

This Christmas

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Family holiday dramedy has some iffy content.

Movie PG-13 2007 117 minutes
This Christmas Poster Image

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Kids say (1):

A typical domestic dramedy full of trivial arguments and predictable reconciliations, This Christmas offers one exceptional moment: Chris Brown performing "Try a Little Tenderness" in a club. As soon as Ma' Dere's youngest son steps on stage, murmuring that he's nervous because it's his "first time," it hardly matters what anyone else is doing. He begins to sing, and he's brilliant. He also brings Preston Whitmore's movie to a halt. Some awkward, unnecessary cuts to reaction shots emphasize that Michael's brothers and sisters are astonished, but this one scene is only a drop in the film's large, conventional bucket full of familial deceits and resentments.

While the film makes familial grappling look mostly comic, occasional tensions erupt into full-on fights (Lisa and Kelli go at it on the front lawn, and Lisa finds a particularly physical way to punish Malcolm). Broad and farcical, such moments are less engaging than the film's subtler moments, and mostly just repeat the home-for-the-holidays movie formula. This formula is exactly why Brown's non-Christmas ballad song, so soulful and sweet, feels so refreshing.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 21, 2007
  • On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2008
  • Cast: Chris Brown, Delroy Lindo, Regina King
  • Director: Preston A. Whitmore II
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors
  • Studio: Screen Gems
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 117 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: comic sexual content and some violence.
  • Last updated: April 7, 2023

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