Christmas Break-In

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Christmas Break-In Movie Poster Image
Feisty kid fights dopey robbers in "Home Alone" wannabe.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Some 9-year-olds are smarter than many grown-ups.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Izzy is resourceful and courageous, even when left alone with criminals. Ray is a loyal friend.

Violence & Scariness

Robbers without any apparent plan tie up a janitor for no real reason. Tennis ball machines launch hundreds of balls at a robber.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Christmas Break-In is a Home Alone clone, featuring Izzy, a super-poised, precocious 9-year-old girl, and her incompetent and clueless parents, who can't prioritize picking her up from school on the last day before Christmas vacation, even in a snowstorm. This leaves Izzy to contend with equally inept thieves who go on the lam at the closed school where she's still waiting to be picked up. Izzy evades the robbers, but her friend is tied up as they await rescue, spurring her to launch clever physical and psychological attacks.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byConchetta66 December 1, 2020

Shameful Depiction of Schools

This movie was so incredibly wrong in its portrayal of a public school at which a child is left during a snowstorm. All schools take the safety of every child v... Continue reading
Parent Written byKristen S. November 14, 2020

Intense scary scenes for young or sensitive viewers

I am surprised that none of the reviews came out and discussed the intense scary scenes where Izzy dresses up as a ghost.

When I heard another reviewer mentio... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old April 23, 2021

Good Movie

The school is a bit unrealistic with safety; some scary parts.

Other than that, it's a good movie.
Kid, 10 years old December 15, 2020

Not very good.

That's all I can say. Some scenes may frighten young children. Not the best at all.

What's the story?

In CHRISTMAS BREAK-IN, Izzy (Cameron Seely) is 9, a self-possessed, bright girl who loves Ray (Danny Glover), her school's wise, guitar-playing janitor. She seems singularly poised to take care of herself and others. On the last day of school, she reminds her forgetful parents to pick her up so that they can run to the guitar store for its one-day half-price sale on the guitar of her dreams. As usual, Mom (Denise Richards) and Dad are so tied up at work that they forget. Izzy sits outside in a snowstorm waiting. Ray has a gig and needs to lock up and head into the snowstorm to make it on time. As he departs, he insists that Izzy at least wait for her parents inside the school. Worried that the parents are late, and despite his gig, Ray heads back to keep Izzy company. That's when three idiot robbers, carrying loot from knocking off a Salvation Army store, decide to take refuge from the storm in the school. Izzy separates from Ray, and he gets tied up by the robbers. She starts rattling chains over the P.A. system and sending out other spooky, haunting sounds and images to frighten the robbers in order to save her friend. Eventually, after an epically long ride in the snowstorm, the parents turn up. Izzy's brother uses a drone's power to snowboard him to the school, too. The police take the robbers, and Ray offers to help the least terrible of them after the fellow gets out of jail.  

Is it any good?

This movie is a weak Home Alone retread that is family-friendly but lacks originality, plausibility, or surprises. Nothing in Christmas Break-In makes sense. Why does Ray go back to be with Izzy just at the moment her parents call to assure him they're on their way to her? Why does it seem to take the parents years to get to the local school? Why is it that the snowstorm keeps the robbers from driving to a getaway place and the parents from traveling to the school, while Ray has no trouble driving through the same terrible road conditions to return to Izzy? Comparative chronology -- the amount of time passing for each character struggling in his or her own situation -- doesn't match up.

Also, almost gratuitously, a seeming Santa figure in a large van shows up to help out, but ultimately nothing is really made of his appearance. And with the exceptions of Glover and James Robert Miller as the fleeting white-bearded Santa character, there isn't a convincing actor on the screen. Families can find much better holiday movies than this.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether any of Christmas Break-In seems plausible. Do you think it works as entertainment anyway? Why or why not?

  • How does this Christmas season movie compare with others you've seen? Does it seem the filmmakers are copying other Christmas films? Can you name some that this movie echoes?

  • Why do you think holiday movies often adhere to formulas?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

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