A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All

  • Review Date: December 10, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 43 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Mix of religious satire and old-timey holiday-special charm.
  • Review Date: December 10, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 43 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

Combining an eclectic mix of musicians singing some truly catchy comic tunes with the hokey vibe of classic TV Christmas specials, this is sure to be a hit with the "Colbert Nation" fanbase 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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 10, 2008
DVD release date:December 10, 2008
Cast:Elvis Costello, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert
Studio:Comedy Central
Genre:Comedy
Run time:43 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bydinakim December 16, 2008
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

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 religion other than Christian.
Teen, 15 years old Written byxaltrockgirlx February 3, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

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 enjoyed it even though it is a little long. However, Christmas's flaws are pointed out, which isn't surprising given Colbert is known for his satire and was raised in a Catholic family where he was also taught intellectualism. While this is a Christmas special, it's definitely not one for the little kids. There is a slight bit of violence from Keith's song about the War on Christmas (though kids have probably seen worse when they watch the real news about really violent wars). Also, purposely cheesy fighting with a bear and a couple of gun shots. Sex is fairly mild with the worst being the innuendo in Legend's song about "nutmeg" (right). There is also a recurring joke about kissing people under the mistletoe, and eventually kissing a (very) fake bear. Language is typical of what you'd expect of Colbert and company, mostly mild, but one moment of a lot of bleeps. Obviously, this special would promote the Colbert Report, and guests' products including the Daily Show and the music of Keith, Legend, Nelson, Feist, and Costello. There are also a couple of names dropped as mentioned in the CSM review. Drugs are limited to Nelson's song with giving pot to baby Jesus (and indulging himself), but there are consequences (he is arrested by tiny policemen... long story) and Colbert drinking eggnog with rum. Overall, Christian faith gets some good-natured ribbing ("who'd thought the wise men would look so white?"), nothing mean-spirited, which makes the special fun for open-minded teens and up.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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