A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Adventures of Bailey: Christmas Hero is another talking-animal adventure from the makers of Adventures of Bailey: The Lost Puppy and Adventures of Bailey: A Night in Cowtown. As with other Bailey adventures, this animal tale is geared toward young animal lovers and stays pretty clean. There's one slightly scary dog who sends Bailey in the wrong direction out of spite and one scene of peril where Duke eats poisonous berries and Bailey isn't sure if he's going to make it. There also are some stereotypes about Native Americans (the wise, noble savage who's here to spread wisdom) and slight religious overtones (the Handsome Man talks a bit about Jesus). But with a strong anti-consumerism message about the joys of giving and celebrating with family, this animal caper is wholesome fun for the whole family.
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What's the story?
After an unfortunate incident featuring a mall Santa, Bailey (Michael Turner) and Duke (Brad Hawkins) are on Santa's naughty list. Determined to get back in with Santa so he can get some Christmas loot, Bailey decides he's going to find Santa and make it right. While staying at Abbi (Christine Galyean) and Truman's (Trey Bumpass) grandparents' farm, Bailey hears about the Handsome Man, an American Indian chief nearby who will grant a Christmas wish. Bailey sets off to find him, with Duke reluctantly following. Meanwhile, while Truman and his grandpa search for the missing pooches, Grandpa tells Truman about the Native American tradition of the Handsome Man and Roving Angels, who share Christmas blessings throughout the year. But will Bailey and Duke find the Handsome Man in time to celebrate the holiday with their family? And will Truman find his beloved dogs before it's time to head home?
Is it any good?
As with other Bailey adventures, this animal caper may feel a little lame and contrived for adult viewers, but it's sure to be an enjoyable watch for young animal lovers. The acting isn't great and is often downright cheesy, but Bailey's silly enthusiasm is appealing, and the other animal characters (Dolly Llama!) are cute and fun. There are a few mild thrills, but there's nothing too scary to put off the kindergarten crowd. Parents looking for a holiday film with a little variety also will appreciate the focus on different traditions.
There are some slight religious overtones (the Handsome Man talks a bit about Jesus) and some slightly awkward Native American stereotypes, which may put off some viewers, but overall it's a light and enjoyable holiday film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different traditions of Santa from around the world. How are the Handsome Man and the Santas from other cultures similar to the American tradition of Santa? How are they different?
Why do you think it feels so good to give things to other people? Is it more rewarding than receiving gifts?
What's your favorite holiday movie? Why is it your favorite?
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