A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Back to Christmas, also known as Correcting Christmas, is a 2014 family-friendly story about a 30-ish architect who regrets having broken up with her live-in boyfriend the Christmas before. When magic sends her back in time to repair the mistake, she discovers her "mistake" may be unfixable and that she'd also made other, more serious mistakes that bear examining. Expect to hear the word "butt" and see adults drinking socially. A man and a woman sleep in separate bedrooms when they visit her parents. A woman was kissed by her married boss at an office party. He has apologized for it and they are on friendly terms.
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What's the story?
In BACK TO CHRISTMAS, Ali (Kelly Overton) is alone in the city, and regretting the way she broke up the year before with Cameron (Michael Muhney), her live-in boyfriend of five years. She'd mistakenly expected an engagement ring from him, and when he gave her earrings instead, she ended the relationship in anger and frustration. Now she's not so sure it was the right thing to do. This Christmas, unable to make the trip home to her family, she's working through the holiday, watching TV, eating cookies in bed, and feeling sorry for herself. Running into Cameron and his new girlfriend triggers the appearance of an over-friendly fairy god-something in the form of Ginny (Jenifer Elise Cox), a kind of clownish busybody who sends Ali back in time for a do-over. This time, Ali works hard to openly appreciate every moment with her parents and with Cameron, pouring her affection on him and assuring him of her love. But it becomes clear that Ali must overlook the clear differences between the kind of life Cameron wants (no kids, no marriage) and the kind of life Ali wants (kids, marriage). She ignores the fact that her brother Jason (Moses Storm) finds Cameron a pretentious narcissist. Enter the cute male neighbor and high school buddy, Nick (Jonathan Patrick Moore), who never left their hometown and loves Christmas and family as much as Ali does. The fact that Cameron insists on taking Ali away from her beloved family for an expensive jaunt to Aspen on Christmas Day, of all days, and depriving her of treasured Christmas traditions, underscores exactly how out of synch Ali and Cameron are. When Ali figures out how well her values and goals match up with Nick's, their happily-ever-after fate appears to be sealed.
Is it any good?
This is a Christmastime love story whose actors, script, direction, and setting are all banal, colorless, and unoriginal. It's notable that several other, far better movies are mentioned here. The writer and director could only wish to be so lucky as to make a film anywhere near as interesting and funny as Groundhog Day, Men in Black, or Back to the Future. What passes for humor includes Ali having a lonely diner meal, interrupted by Ginny, a meddling magical stranger who good-naturedly barges in on Ali and then insists on ordering Ali's food.
The slight wisp of an idea that tries to hold Back to Christmas up is so weak and underdeveloped that the filmmakers seem to throw up their hands in surrender when it comes time to figure out how to end the thing. At one point, Ginny lectures Ali that going back in time must obey the laws of physics, as if this clarified something useful about the internal logic of the plot. All it actually does is suggest that the writer has heard of physics.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Back to Christmas successfully persuades viewers to accept the magical premise that mistakes of the past can be corrected by traveling back in time.
Do you think it's possible to be friends with people who don't share your values? What are some core values you believe in? How do your beliefs influence who you're willing to be friends with?
If you could travel back in time, what would you do?
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