A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the whole family will find a lot to like in this touching TV movie's messages about love, respect, and family bonds. The movie centers on a happily married couple whose relationship is strengthened by overcoming challenges. Because three of the kids are of different ethnicities, the story incorporates some cultural diversity, including foreign languages and references to ethnic music and traditional games. The emotional subplot surrounding the kids’ parents’ deaths might be too much for sensitive kids, so use your judgment on your kids’ readiness for such a heavy topic. Astute viewers will notice the sponsoring companies’ (Walmart and Procter & Gamble) strategically placed products in select scenes, but it feels like a fairly minor quibble in what's otherwise wholesome family entertainment.
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What's the story?
Sally (Brooke White) and Jason Danville (Joe Flanigan) are living the dream -- happily married with successful careers and no plans for change. But change is just what’s in store for them when Sally’s best friend dies unexpectedly while working in the Peace Corps and leaves her four children -- three of whom are adopted -- in the Danvilles’ care. Certain they’re not parent material, Sally and Jason agree to take in the kids temporarily until the social worker, Dorothy (Phylicia Rashad), can place them elsewhere. But the longer this unlikely group is together, the more it begins to feel like a family.
Is it any good?
No surprise, this family-centered movie -- the fourth in the Family Movie Night collection sponsored by Walmart and Procter & Gamble -- is perfectly suited for families to enjoy together. With the exception of young kids who might be upset by the emotional fallout from the movie kids' parents’ death, CHANGE OF PLANS has a lot to offer parents and kids alike, and its feel-good messages about the ties that bind even non-traditional families will inspire viewers. At a time when more and more families are blended in some way, this story offers a touching glimpse at how love grows even in unlikely relationships.
Obvious interpersonal themes aside, the story touches on other issues that will resonate with parents and kids, including teens’ struggles to fit in, coping with change, and establishing trust, so there’s plenty to talk about when the TV’s turned off. This movie also offers viewers a good opportunity to discuss advertising in the media, since it’s filled with product placement from sponsors Walmart and Procter & Gamble and even uses a cameo from Walmart-sponsored NASCAR driver Jeff Burton to parade brand names before viewers’ eyes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about relationships. Do you think this movie presents realistic family relationships? What aspects do you find most or least believable? How do the characters evolve throughout the story?
Tweens: How does your family stay in touch in this media-dominated age? Does technology like cell phones and social media help or hurt those efforts?
What are some of your family’s common struggles? How do you make sure that your family is a source of strength and happiness for everyone? What activities do you enjoy together? How do they reflect your family’s values?
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