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 Catch is a holiday story scrubbed clean of the usual offenders -- sex, language, graphic violence, and adult concerns -- as a sunny police detective has a crush on the suspect she's trying to entrap. There isn't much for adults here and, without teens or younger characters in the cast, this also has little to offer kids, except for its oversimplification of human interactions and its Christmas setting. Language includes "crap." Adults kiss. A man is seen bare-chested, wearing only a towel. Diamonds were stolen. Someone is attacked and is lying on the floor. Someone pulls a gun and makes threats. No blood is seen. Adults drink wine.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In CHRISTMAS CATCH, Mack (Emily Alatalo) is a police detective who so sorely lacks dating skills that when asked to "flirt" to keep a criminal suspect from leaving the scene, her actions actually drive the guy away. Her mother and superior officer, Captain Bennett (Lauren Holly), despairs of ever having grandchildren. Mack just wants to meet someone through serendipity, a "happy accident." But her partner and friend Reid (Andrew Bushell) worries about her taste in men, so when she meets a cute guy named Carson (Franco Lo Presti) he's skeptical that any good can come of it. That intuition is vindicated when FBI Special Agent Robertson (Genelle Williams) sweeps in accusing the new guy of masterminding a diamond heist and orders Mack to "date" him as part of an investigation. But Mack can't shake her suspicion that Carson is innocent, mostly because he loves Christmas ornaments as much as she does. A late plot twist throws all of this into question.
Is it any good?
In terms of providing entertainment, watching Christmas Catch might be just a notch above doing nothing at all. In the effort to avoid offense, this movie has been wiped clean of wit, creativity, and spark. It's hard to see how grownups would be absorbed by dialogue that sounds like it was written by a 9-year-old trying to sound adult. And it's equally difficult to imagine, without a kid anywhere in the cast, how this would appeal to kids of any age. The lack of even a whiff of real life also deprives the movie of the kind of conflict and tension that hold most movies together. Mack is said to notoriously lack "dating skills," but what are dating skills? Can she sit at a restaurant table? Can she sip water without dribbling it down her chin? When instructed to flirt in the line of duty, she sticks her tongue out. What dating manual advises that technique? It's true that Home Alone has more violence and language than this, but it also has the wit, creativity, and originality absent here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea of "dating skills." What do you think the movie means by that term?
Mack thinks a guy is nice because he has a lot of Christmas spirit. Do you think that is a good way to judge a person's character? Why or why not?
What aspects of this movie seem true to life? Do you think a holiday season movie needs to also seem realistic? Why or why not?
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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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