A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Country Christmas highlights positive messages about sharing love and family bonds. All the adults are excellent role models, as are the Logan kids, and even the bad guy is not really evil, just misguided. Thoroughly wholesome, the movie's only aspect that might scare very young children is some emotional intensity when the family copes with Mrs. Logan's cancer scare.
What's the story?
When Arizona senator Max Schmucker (Kevin Pollak) bans all references to Santa from the holiday season, Santa's magic starts to disappear. Without his magic, Santa (Abraham Benrubi) can't travel the world anymore, and he crash-lands on the Logan family ranch. Kids Zach (Benjamin Stockham) and Miley (Caitlin Carmichael) soon discover Santa hiding in their barn along with his helper elf Elliot (Mikey Post). With Santa unable to help himself, Zach and Miley launch a campaign to bring back the magic of Christmas. Can they convince Max Schmucker, and the whole world, that Santa is real?
Is it any good?
A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS has a big heart, a lot of country, and a lot of Christmas. Little kids will have no trouble overlooking the flaws that keep it from becoming a holiday classic (Santa's wig and beard are obviously false; Elliot's prosthetic, pointy, elf ear is clearly visible; and the flying-goat special effects are almost laughable), and they'll find siblings Zach and Miley easy to relate to and root for. Adults and country music fans might appreciate the cameos from Trace Adkins and Jay DeMarcus, but they're too brief to really satisfy. Country fans also may be disappointed with the music's backseat status, surprising for a project with names such as Adkins, DeMarcus, and Executive Producer Kix Brooks attached.
The story's formulaic, broad strokes feel emotionally manipulative, as when Miley makes no effort to prepare for her big debate with a U.S. senator and at the debate makes no actual arguments to prove her point, appealing to emotion to win the day. The cast's flat performances don't add any depth, either. The warm holiday messages of love and family shine through, but, with so many other great choices out there, this film is better left to country die-hards only.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the magic, love, and hope of the holiday season. What makes it a special time of year?
Do you have a favorite holiday movie? Did you like this one as much as you like your favorite?
Miley and Senator Schmucker have a big debate about Santa. Have you ever had to talk or perform in front of a big crowd? If not, do you think it would be easy to do?
- On DVD or streaming: October 27, 2013
- Cast: Joey Lauren Adams, William Shockley, Abraham Benrubi
- Director: Dustin Rikert
- Studio: Team 2 Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Holidays, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Mild thematic elements
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.