Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

Christmas vs. The Walters

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Language, lots of holiday spirit in so-so dramedy.

Movie PG-13 2021 90 minutes
Christmas vs. The Walters Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 5+


I think it is great for families and kids to watch. Positive message
age 9+

The Gist of a True Family XMAS

Relatable, True Family Movie. We needed a movie like this!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Annoyingly flawed, with flat jokes and a bargain-bin visual style, this holiday-themed dramedy may still brighten the season with its strong main characters and good cheer. The jokes in Christmas vs. The Walters routinely miss the mark. A dog-catcher character is always hungry, and that's supposed to be funny. And a drunk Santa has been done better elsewhere. (Other background jokes, like Diane's kitchen being covered in Post-it notes, are actually funnier, as is a crusty Bruce Dern in his too-few scenes.) Perhaps even worse is the air of first-world problems that this obviously upper-middle-class family has; nothing that goes "wrong" here is of any real consequence.

Despite its characters being well-off, Christmas vs. The Walters has a chintzy look, like old videotape past its shelf-life, that's frequently off-putting. (A flashback sequence establishing Diane's backstory is especially awkward.) And yet, at the center of it all, Smith -- who's best known for the Saw movies -- seems to hold it together, even as she falls apart. She gives a whirly, spunky performance and helps convey a believable family dynamic. It feels like there's a real shared, family history among the characters. And they somehow manage to convey a sweet, lovely holiday spirit that eventually rubs off, especially for those who love Christmas. In the end, even the decorations start to look nice.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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.

See how we rate