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 main character in this made-for-TV movie is a woefully immature guy whose many character flaws have cost him his wife and young son. He often resorts to his juvenile ways to cope with his unhappiness, taking out his frustration on those around him with sarcastic remarks, practical jokes designed to make his ex-wife's boyfriend look like a fool, and more than a few punches thrown at people and objects in the path of his anger. Parents will definitely want to remind impressionable tweens that there are more effective ways to resolve conflicts.
What's the story?
Jay Mohr and Daphne Zuniga team up in CHRISTMAS DO-OVER, a made-for-TV holiday movie about a man who's forced to relive Christmas day until he uses his second chance (and third and fourth ...) to make much-needed changes in his life. Kevin (Mohr) is a struggling jingle writer who's dreading spending the holiday with his ex-wife and her family, who, needless to say, aren't his biggest fans. But for the sake of his 6-year-old son, Ben (Logan Grove), whom he sees only occasionally since his divorce, Kevin makes a last-minute run to the toy store -- buying Ben's gift sight unseen after hearing another kid begging his dad for it -- and shows up on their doorstep with all the spirit he can muster for a brief Christmas visit. Unbeknownst to Kevin, Jill's (Zuniga) boyfriend, Todd (David Millbern), is also invited, and when he arrives with a more suitable gift for Ben (turns out the kid in the store wanted a pink toy oven), a new car for Jill, and the kind of caring personality that Kevin so obviously lacks, Kevin decides he's had enough. But, as fate would have it, a giant boulder has settled itself in the middle of the only road that leads out of town, so he's forced to tuck his tail and return to his in-laws' house to see the holiday through. Kevin endures an awkward family dinner, dreaded door-to-door caroling, and Todd's wedding proposal to Jill, all the while reminding himself that he'll be able to escape the nightmare in the morning. But once again, fate steps in, this time resetting the clock and forcing Kevin to relive the day over and over until he realizes the mess he's made of his life. Only through changing his priorities and making amends for his mistakes will he be able to move on and possibly regain the family he's lost.
Is it any good?
Christmas Do-Over's strong cast brings fresh touches of humor to the well-worn premise of repeated chances at redemption. The overall package is a lighthearted comedy with a few laugh-out-loud moments, most of which show Kevin building on his knowledge of how events play out to wow the family with his apparent sensitivity and foresight. Adults and teens will chuckle at the humorously dramatic lengths to which he goes to escape his fateful situation and at his many blind attempts (and one moment of truth) to right past wrongs. Just be warned that there's lots of juvenile behavior played for laughs -- including sarcastic exchanges, practical jokes, and occasional fistfights.
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