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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Messages about charity not only during the holidays, but all year.
Positive Role Models
One of the lead characters runs a homeless shelter. Lead female character learns to see the importance of kindness and selfless behavior over shallow materialism. Homeless characters shown to be people down on their luck rather than the typical stereotypes.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Gay character describes lead male character as "edible." "Plowing" used as double entendre. Brand of lip gloss the lead female character is wearing is identified as "Lip Gloss in Orgasm."
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Infrequent profanity: "goddamn," "damn." At a skating rink, mean girls make fun of the lead character's old clothes.
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Products & Purchases
Burberry mentioned by name.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Margarita drinking, beer drinking. Eggnog in blender shown getting spiked with whiskey at Christmas party. Champagne drinking while out to dinner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dear Santa is a 2011 holiday romcom in which a rich young woman's life changes after finding a letter to Santa from a little girl who asks for a new mother for Christmas. There's some sexual innuendo: The lead male character who runs a homeless shelter is described as "edible" by the effeminate and somewhat stereotypical gay man who works as a cook in the shelter, and there's also mention of "plowing" as a metaphor for sex, and the lip gloss the lead female character wears is named "Lip Gloss in Orgasm." At a Christmas party, eggnog is shown being spiked with a bottle of Jack Daniels. Plus, there's margarita, beer, and champagne drinking, as well as infrequent mild profanity ("damn"). There's also verbal bullying by young mean girls at an outdoor skating rink: The girls make fun of the lead character for wearing out-of-date and old clothing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is one of those predictable romantic comedies set during the holidays, with the expected Christmas miracles and message of love always managing to find a way. Amy Acker comes across as sweet as she transforms over the course of the movie from NYC trust fund party girl to dogged defender of homeless shelters, widowers, and little girls with selfless Christmas wishes, but there's no getting around the fact that the characters are as stock as you can get. Besides Crystal's character, there's the token effeminate sassy gay man dishing out sage yet catty wisdom, the cold-as-ice current girlfriend who just isn't right for the male lead character, and the aforementioned male lead character, who is ruggedly handsome, sensitive, altruistic, and down on his luck.
Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Dear Santa is that it does try to imbue the homeless characters with a certain dignity, humanity, and personality rather than relying on typical representations of homeless people in movies -- that is, as little more than pathetic wretches grateful to receive any act of charity, no matter how small. Nonetheless, the movie never really tries to venture very far from the tried-and-true conventions of this genre.
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.