A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All

Movie review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All Movie Poster Image
Mix of religious satire and old-timey holiday-special charm.
  • NR
  • 2008
  • 43 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Religious elements of Christmas aren't spared from jokes: Willie Nelson plays a wise man trying to give the baby Jesus pot as a gift (he's later arrested), Feist plays an angel who puts people with prayer requests on hold like a telephone operator -- instead of earning her wings, Colbert suggests she will earn "a pair of balls." Plus, the video to Toby Keith's "War on Christmas" song shows places being blown up and shots of a guillotine, with violence (jokingly) directed at nonbelievers.

Violence

Toby Keith's song shows flashes of bombs (some shaped like Christmas trees, one with a smiley face), missles, a guillotine, and a house blowing up. A very fake bear attacks, is stabbed by Santa very nongraphically, and is then shown as a rug. Keith carries a rifle.

Sex

Ample innuendo in John Legend's "Nutmeg" song ("the only residue I want you wiping off your face is my nutmeg," "sprinkle your Christmas cream with my spice supreme," and so on). One tongue kiss to a fake bear.

Language

"Damn," "balls," and a whole bleeped-out sentence by Jon Stewart, with nothing distinguishable.

Consumerism

iPod, the Jonas Brothers, the New York Times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Wilie Nelson segment is all about giving pot to Jesus as a gift (Nelson says "right now I'm so high you're hallucinating"). Colbert drinks eggnog with lots of rum.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Christmas special is a lot like Stephen Colbert's Comedy Central show The Colbert Report. There's a lot of satire that's best for older teens who will understand it -- and Colbert's ultra-conservative character -- on that level. Specific to this special, the religious elements of Christmas aren't spared from jokes: Willie Nelson plays a wise man trying to give the baby Jesus pot as a gift (he's later arrested), Feist plays an angel who puts people with prayer requests on hold like a telephone operator, and the video to Toby Keith's "War on Christmas" song shows places with nonbelievers being blown up. There's also ample sexual innuendo in John Legend's "Nutmeg" song. Also of note: the ads before the DVD highlight uncensored Comedy Central shows with some iffy sexual content that goes beyond what's included in this program.

User Reviews

Adult Written bydinakim December 16, 2008

Too sacriligous for the devout

Sadly, instead of being funny in a clean way, based on the sensitive subject mattter, the Colbert Christmas farce is for those who either are irreligous or of a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byxaltrockgirlx February 3, 2012

Check out the Colbert Report first...

This is the best way to figure out if you'll be offended or not. Even though my family's Christian (this was actually one of our Christmas gifts) I e... Continue reading

What's the story?

Trapped by a bear in his cabin, Stephen Colbert has no way to get to the filming of his Christmas special. Luckily, many musical guests stop by to keep him company: Toby Keith as a hunter, John Legend as a forest ranger, Willie Nelson as the fourth wise man in the nativity scene, Feist as an angel on top of the Christmas tree, and Jon Stewart and Elvis Costello as themselves. DVD extras include a yule log with burning books, a video advent calendar, a bonus song sung by Colbert, and some alternate endings.

Is it any good?

Combining an eclectic mix of musicians singing truly catchy comic tunes with the hokey vibe of classic TV Christmas specials, this is sure to be a hit with the "Colbert Nation" fan base and beyond. The best song in the mix comes from Feist, whose angelic voice fits the part. Stewart struggles vocally with his Hanukkah song, but his comic timing makes up for it. Legend could use some acting lessons, but his song about nutmeg expertly combines the bawdy and ridiculous.

Sometimes the religious satire comes close to going over the line -- and it will be way over the line for some -- but with Colbert in character as an ultra-conservative narcisist, it'd be hard to know whom to blame for any offense he may have caused.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about satire and religion. Do you think Colbert is successful at making you laugh, or is it offensive? Or both? Is it easier to laugh knowing that Colbert is playing a character? What freedoms does his character give him? What other examples of religious satire can you name?

Movie details

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