A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Christmas All Over Again is about a spoiled teenage boy and his transformation into a caring and thoughtful person, a tale that offers some positive lessons for younger tweens. This demographic might also appreciate the fantastical storyline of magically getting stuck in time, as well as the humor behind schticks like Eddie waking up every day to the smell of his dog's fart or daring his crush's older boyfriend to a sled race. But teens might find the portrayal of their age group a little forced, and the G-rated language ("devil," "heck," "jeez," "jerk," "stupid") and tidy ending could strike them as too naïve.
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What's the story?
Selfish and immature, Eddie (Sean Ryan Fox), the lead character in CHRISTMAS ALL OVER AGAIN, only has one goal in life: to own a pair of cool new sneakers, the Breezy 3000s. He's hoping to get them for Christmas, but his family isn't exchanging gifts until Dec. 26 as his brother (Collin Smith) is marrying his fiancée (Christy Carlson Romano, also the film's director) on Christmas day. But Eddie's wait turns out to be much longer than one day when a magic shoe store owner puts a spell over him, condemning him to repeat Christmas day over and over again until he gets his priorities in order. Eddie first uses the time to cause trouble and go shopping, knowing there will be no consequences when he gets to start the same day again the next morning. But eventually he figures out that to get unstuck he's going to need to start helping those around him, treat his friends and family better, and finally grow up a little bit.
Is it any good?
This holiday movie is a far cry from the 1993 Harold Ramis classic, Groundhog Day, that inspired it. If you're only going to watch one stuck-in-time film, make it the original. But nevertheless, and after a rocky start marked by awkward character introductions and uneven pacing, Christmas All Over Again picks up about 25 minutes in when the main character, spoiled teen Eddie, gets stuck in time. The storyline is predictable: Eddie will learn to be a better person by repeating the same day (and his same mistakes) over and over again. So getting there has to bring the fun and convey the right messages without getting too repetitive.
A couple of key scenes do this: Eddie strutting around town in rap-star slo-mo, fur hoodie-wearing dog in tow, is one highlight. His inspired idea to set up the girl he likes with a salesboy at the shoe store he's been frequenting is another. And his finally-improved, heartfelt best man's speech at his brother's wedding is the culmination, where he acknowledges all the lessons he's learned: admitting he's still struggling with his mother's death, recognizing how important his best friend and family are in his life, and wishing the newly married couple happiness and love. He's learned the true meaning of Christmas, a voiceover tells us at the end (oddly, it seems to be the dog talking): "Good things happen when people are good to each other."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk whether they've seen Groundhog Day, the movie that inspired Christmas All Over Again. What are some similarities and differences?
If you got stuck on a single day, what bad habits of your own would you want to change? What lessons do you think you'd need to learn?
Did the film make sense when Eddie repeated days, or were there moments you felt confused about what day it was or why Christmas was starting again? How could the film have handled this differently?
- On DVD or streaming: December 13, 2016
- Cast: Sean Ryan Fox, Armani Jackson, Christy Carlson Romano
- Director: Christy Carlson Romano
- Studio: Switzer Entertainment Group
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Holidays
- Run time: 78 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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