A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that much of the humor in Holidate, which stars '90s romcom queen Julia Roberts' niece Emma Roberts, turns on sexual encounters and heavy drinking. The characters, including secondary, are ultimately decent people who care for one another. There's frank discussion of body parts ("vagina," "clitoris," "cock," "t-ts," "boobs," "ass") and reference to sexual positions and practices ("hand job," "cookie licking," "porn," "back door," oral sex, "cum in my mouth," sexting). The film plays on some gender stereotypes, including women trying to trap a man into marriage before he's ready, and discussion of a man's stamina and a woman's drive to procreate. The main characters drink, often heavily, on all of their holiday dates, resulting in one-night stands and memory fails, including one morning where they can't recall if they've had sex the night before. In another scene, men are drunkenly shooting off fireworks and one loses a finger. A group has trouble finding a sober driver in an emergency. Characters smoke pot in a car and a hospital ER room, and the female lead smokes occasional cigarettes. There's swearing and language throughout, including "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." Despite scenes in a mall and of buying and returning presents, wealth and consumerism aren't a main theme.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Sloane (Emma Roberts) is the last of her siblings to get married, and every family holiday has become a torturous replay of probing and rebukes. That is, until her single Aunt Susan (Kristin Chenowith) introduces her to the idea of the HOLIDATE, or bringing an acquaintance as a date to holidays with no strings or expectations attached. When Sloane meets Australian golf pro Jackson (Luke Bracey), fresh off his own nightmare family holiday scenario, the two decide they'd make a perfect "friends without benefits" holidating pair. The only problem is, as they spend major holidays together over the course of a year, they discover they may actually really like each other.
Is it any good?
Holidate ties together several classic romcom tropes: holiday romance, parents worrying about an unattached grown child, and a couple that everyone realizes is meant for each other before they do. The characters even discuss the romcom formula in an early scene, a wink at the predictability of the genre and, let's face it, this film too. But predictability and a happy ending are part of the attraction, and the formula works so long as there's chemistry between the leads (there is) and some quirky secondary characters (there are, especially Chenoweth as the promiscuous aunt, Frances Fisher as the shamelessly judging mom, and Manish Dayal as the hunky doctor next door).
Some of the raunchy language, sexual references, and drinking feel gratuitous, but there's something pleasingly retro about a film that sets scenes in a shopping mall with no irony. As Sloane, Roberts is charismatic, funny, and vulnerable. Across her, Bracey is like an Australian John Corbett, transmitting decency under his rakish good looks. Together, they create characters you'll find yourself rooting for by the end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Holidate compares with other romantic comedies set during the holidays that you've watched.
What do you think of the concept of the "holidate"? Do you think the parental pressure to pair off and get married is exaggerated or true to life? Why?
When did you know how Holidate would end? Do you enjoy a movie less if you can predict its outcome? Why or why not?
How do characters treat sex in the film? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
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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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