A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some young viewers who watch this made-for-TV holiday movie starring the cast of Nickelodeon's hit series Drake & Josh may need a reality check afterward. Older tweens will understand the fantasy nature of what they see, but littler kids may need a few reminders about responsible teen behavior. As in the sitcom, responsible Josh repeatedly falls victim to his impulsive stepbrother's antics, and while the situations are always spun for laughs, this time Josh lands in federal prison -- and both teens wind up in court. Felonies aside, even some of the guys' everyday actions are pretty iffy, including driving erratically, not wearing seatbelts, and lying to make their sister help them evade a parole officer. Predictably, none of this behavior results in any relatable, lasting consequences. But at least there's no swearing, drinking, or sex (other than a couple of kisses), either!
- Parents say
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What's the story?
With their parents away on a tropical vacation, stepbrothers Drake Parker (Drake Bell) and Josh Nichols (Josh Peck) are left to fend for themselves for the holidays. Ever the traditionalist, Josh's plans include baking cookies and singing carols, but a mishap at Drake's rooftop holiday party lands him in the slammer instead. When Drake is caught trying to break Josh out, both teens face hard time, but the judge (Henry Winkler) suspends their sentence pending their promise to fulfill a young girl's (Bailee Madison) holiday wish for her foster family. With a vindictive parole officer on their tail, the guys are hard-pressed to spread holiday joy, but with a little help from crafty sister Megan (Miranda Cosgrove), Josh's wacky co-worker Crazy Steve (Jerry Trainor), and a big-hearted ex-con named Bludge (Kimbo Slice), the brothers might uncover the true Christmas spirit after all.
Is it any good?
With its holiday fun, spirit of giving, and a couple of toe-tapping tunes from charming guitarist Drake, this movie's sure to appeal to the tween crowd. Bell and Peck won over young fans with their comic portrayal of mismatched stepbrothers during Drake & Josh's four-year run, earning the show two Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite TV Show. MERRY CHRISTMAS, DRAKE & JOSH will surely please the duo's established tween fans by reuniting the entire original cast and not missing a beat with the characters' trademark tomfoolery.
That said, despite the fact that Drake and Josh are now seasoned teens (apparently old enough to be trusted at home alone, anyway), they indulge in a fair bit of iffy behavior in the name of comedy, including driving erratically, not wearing seatbelts, evading a law officer, and breaking into a federal prison. In the real world, most of the brothers' actions would result in far more serious consequences than they suffer in sanitized TV land. Older tweens can probably put the exaggerated content (and, at times, acting) into context, but if they're not already fans, they may be turned off by the corny plot and overacting. If your kids do end up watching, it's worth having a talk afterward about responsible behavior and real-life repercussions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media portrays teens. Do you think this movie gives an accurate impression of teen life? Why or why not? How are Drake and Josh's circumstances different from yours? How are they the same? Do you think the media tends to stereotype teen roles? What other shows do you watch with teen characters? How do their actions compare to Drake and Josh's? Do you find any to be more believable than others? Which ones?
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