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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Albert is a holiday story based on a book of the same name about a determined young tree that sets out to be named the city's official Christmas tree. His journey takes courage and a strong will, but Albert discovers that it's also great to have friends along who will do anything to help you realize your dreams. There are a few scary moments when the characters' fates hang in the balance (one in particular involves a paper-processing mill and the plants' near-demise), plus an edgy encounter with a cactus who holds a grudge against Christmas (and thus a wannabe Christmas tree) and attempts to sabotage Albert and his friends. Also expect some marginal language such as "butt" and "buttload" and name-calling such as "jerkweed." On the other hand, the story is rich in messages about following your dreams, believing in your potential, and sharing joy with others.
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What's the story?
ALBERT is the story of a small Douglas fir with big dreams of being a glorious Christmas tree. To that end, he sets out on an eventful journey from the nursery where he lives to Empire City in the hopes of being made the town's most celebrated holiday decoration. Joined by his palm tree friend Maisie (voiced by Sasheer Zamata) and a snarky weed named Gene (Judah Friedlander), Albert (Bobby Moynihan) refuses to let anything -- not even a Scrooge named Cactus Pete (Rob Riggle) -- keep him from realizing his dream.
Is it any good?
This sweet, funny tale is brimming with Christmas spirit and kid-friendly themes about following your dreams and persevering through challenges. Albert is everyone's favorite kind of hero; he's realistically imperfect, happily optimistic, and totally OK with who he is, even when others try to make him feel badly about himself. That, plus the loyalty of his best friend, sees him through the roadblocks that threaten his reaching his goal.
Albert's animation blends CGI and stop-motion into a production that's a treat to watch, bringing to vibrant life all sorts of plants and assigning them hilarious personalities. Besides plucky Albert, viewers will especially love the sardonic tagalong Gene and his underground community of weed friends who band together to help the travelers in a pinch. As for Christmas sentiments, it's hard to beat Albert's final gesture of kindness and the message it sends about family, friends, and sharing joy to receive it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what accounts for Albert's strong self-esteem. Does what others think of him and his dreams have a negative effect on him? Kids: Is this realistic in your experience? Why do others' opinions matter to us so much?
What dangers does Albert face on his journey to the big city? What rules does your family have that help keep you safe?
What holiday traditions are favorites for your family? To what degree do they involve sharing joy with others? How does making other people happy influence your own joy?
- In theaters: December 9, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: November 14, 2017
- Cast: Bobby Moynihan, Sasheer Zamata, Judah Friedlander
- Director: Max Lang
- Studio: Nickelodeon
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Great Boy Role Models, Holidays
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 43 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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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.