Change of Plans Movie Poster Image

Change of Plans



Inspiring movie about family ties involves loss of a parent.
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This story’s themes include responsibility, respect, and the strong bonds that exist in non-traditional family structures. It deals honestly with emotional issues like the death of a parent, the frustrations of coping with unforeseen challenges, and the social uncertainties of being a teen -- but the overall message is one of hope, empowerment, and the healing power of love. 

Positive role models

Jason and Sally are a loving couple who turn to each other when they need support. They don’t shirk responsibility and are open to changing their priorities when life throws them a curveball.


A teen’s shirt is bloody after a scuffle with a rival classmate, but the fight isn’t shown.


Some flirting among teens, and an adult couple cuddles and kisses a lot, but all the content speaks to happy, healthy relationships.

Not applicable

Sponsor companies’ products (Great Value cereal, Orville Redenbacher popcorn, etc.) are visible at times, but the overall effect is mostly subliminal. One exception to the subtlety is a cameo by Walmart-sponsored NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, whose clothes are a walking billboard for the store, as well as P&G brands like Prilosec. Brooke White’s music makes up much of the movie’s soundtrack, which is available exclusively at Walmart.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

DVD/Streaming release date:February 22, 2011
Cast:Brooke White, Joe Flanigan, Phylicia Rashad
Director:Danièle Thompson
Studio:MPI Home Video
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Parent Written byRobInKC May 15, 2011
Really sweet show about a married couple who get their priorities in order amidst a life change forced on them. Also engaging and some entertaining music. My 12-year-old daughter and I enjoyed it together and now have purchased it to have in the home.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byLeProf_no1 November 17, 2011


This movie, as shown in its DVD cover, is not the child-appropriate movie reviewed here. SAME TITLE, VERY DIFFERENT FILM. The movie cover shown is a French language movie, Le Code a Changé, "a change in the plan", and is **completely inappropriate,** even for teens, let alone 10 year olds as indicated. The movie's setting is a dinner party of friends and acquaintances, where the back stories are their severe marital and family difficulties and, especially, extramarital affairs, including among the dinner's attendees. So, not for children -- unless your aim is clever French repartee laced with expletives and double entendre, where at least the expletives are clearly translated in the English subtitles.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bylaroosky April 15, 2011

Pretty sweet - too cloying?

We watched this made-for-tv-movie based on the high review posted here. I think I liked it better than the 9 & 11 yr olds. Our kids reacted to it the way that I remember reacting to some of the old "Hallmark" made-for-tv movies -- fine if you don't mind a little saccarine, but it may irritate the 10 and older crowd. I learned later that an American Idol singer was one of the stars. Her singing was good. Recommended for fans of the show who might recognize her.