A Country Christmas

  • Review Date: July 23, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Big-hearted, kid-friendly holiday film with shallow plot.
  • Review Date: July 23, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn a little about the chores involved in raising and caring for farm animals.

Positive messages

The central theme of the story is that Santa exists because we believe in him, so a strong message is conveyed about the power and magic that come from truly believing in something. Other messages are about working together to accomplish goals and tasks, sharing love, and accepting that money can't buy happiness. Even though there are plenty of sad things in the world, people deserve happiness.

Positive role models

Mr. and Mrs. Logan are a loving, hardworking couple who take a team approach to parenting. The Logan children, Zach and Miley, model a devoted sibling relationship. They work together to solve problems and support each other when times are tough. Santa is the embodiment of the Christmas spirit. Elliot, Santa's elf, is a bit of a stickler when it comes to rules but is a loyal helper. Bad guy Max Schmucker is shown not to be evil; his political campaign to outlaw Santa stems from not being loved as a child and not knowing how to share love as an adult.

Violence & scariness

Some characters are shown punching their own fists, implying that's what someone they're angry with (the villain who's trying to outlaw Santa) deserves. There's some potentially scary emotional intensity when Mrs. Logan's cancer recurs and isn't treatable.

Sexy stuff

Mr. and Mrs. Logan kiss lightly three or four times in greeting or departing. There's a vague bit of sexual innuendo in the bloopers that run with the closing credits: When a horse neighs over Mikey Post's (elf Elliot) line, Abraham Benrudi (Santa) asks if he has a carrot in his pocket, Post winks, and Benrudi laughs.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Hulu ​each are mentioned once. Zach is frequently seen in a "Hope, Arizona" hoodie.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

DVD release date: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

This review of A Country Christmas was written by

About our rating system

  • 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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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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