Parents' Guide to

Christmas Eve

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Holiday tale has big cast, worthy messages, flawed script.

Movie PG 2015 95 minutes
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Ensemble holiday films have become fairly common, but it's a tough formula to nail, and Christmas Eve is one for which the struggle is real. The setup offers some promise: six groups of people, stuck together overnight with nothing to do but learn more about each other and, in the process, perhaps something about themselves. Viewers also gradually come to realize that certain characters in each group are connected to someone in another elevator.

The problem is that we don't always come to care about these people. It's just the acting that's to blame; Cole stands out as a doctor with a badly injured patient, and Heder does well as a just-laid-off office drone. But the script is thin. Stewart's solo scenes as a dictatorial boss don't give him much room to grow, while members of a classical music ensemble (who already know plenty about each other) seem to make personal vows that feel forced. And a few other characters don't have the necessary rapport to make their segments compelling. When done well (see: Love Actually), ensemble holiday movies can become staples. Christmas Eve likely won't.

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