A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Christmas entry in the popular Beethoven franchise is loaded with farcical comic action (falls, crashes, bumps, a runaway sleigh, lots of chases, and captures involving both dogs and humans). No one is hurt and everyone pops right up from what is usually snow-covered ground. Name brand toys line the shelves in an oft-visited toy store and are featured in numerous scenes. There's some rude language ("idiot," "dumb elf," "get your nose out of your butt") and one lengthy dog farting scene. The over-the-top, silly but not very scary villains will stop at nothing to exploit the Christmas season and separate customers from their cash. The movie includes some serious issues as well: the boy at the center of the story is dealing with the recent death of his father, as well as his mother's adjustment to that death; and the elf who flees from the North Pole is dejected because he feels "different" from the other elves. Both have to come to terms with the events in their lives.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
It's three days before Christmas. Henry (Kyle Massey), the elf assigned to the stable at the North Pole, has hurt feelings. He wants to be a toy-making elf like the rest of his friends. When he angrily rides off with the sleigh and Santa's magic toy bag, he crash lands in small town in Minnesota and he's in deep trouble. Two greedy toy store owners get their hands on the magic bag, and Henry realizes he's put the entire holiday in danger. No bag, no sleigh -- no Christmas! Lucky for the elf and kids everywhere, Henry meets Mason (Munro Chambers), a boy who needs to learn a lesson about dogs, and Beethoven, the lovable pet who's there to teach him. It takes a village and lots of comic action, but the three heroes save the day and learn some important lessons, too.
Is it any good?
BEETHOVEN'S CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE is bright, colorful, with a simply told story, engaging animal heroes, very silly comic villains, and plenty of slapstick action. For the first time, Beethoven talks (in the voice of Tom Arnold). And, just past the onslaught of branded toys and games, the film has a heart.
It takes a look at the healing nature of humans bonding with pets, and the value of adopting homeless animals, specifically from the ASPCA. It’s not a classic, but most kids (and even some grownups) will laugh a bit and enjoy the happy endings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about film's message that the best gifts don't always come from a bag. What was Mason's best Christmas gift? Can you think of some gifts you could give or have received that don't come from a bag or a store? How does this message go along with all the branded toys featured in the movie? Do you think the movie is trying to sell these toys?
What is the movie's message about pets?
There's a lot of make-believe or cartoon mischief and destruction in this movie. What are some of the ways you can tell that it's make-believe and not real? What might really happen if someone fell out of a tree?
- On DVD or streaming: November 8, 2011
- Cast: Kyle Massey, Munro Chambers, Tom Arnold
- Director: John Putch
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Holidays
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild rude humor
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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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.
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