A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Dad is Scrooge is a 2014 Canadian take on the famed Dickens story about a man who has lost his humanity. With no violence, sex, or language, it probably would fall into the G category if rated by the MPAA. Live-action, talking farm animals step in to help this Scrooge's young children knock some Christmas spirit back into their cold dad. Suspension of disbelief is required. A panicky llama head-butts a man and knocks him out. A man is tricked into believing that he has died and he cheerfully becomes a "ghost." A caged rat threatens to bite people but it's used as a running joke.
What's the story?
MY DAD IS SCROOGE is yet another retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The dad in question is EB (Brian Cook), a loan officer in the process of foreclosing on a farm where an older couple takes care of sick and homeless animals. EB's kids, Oliver (Christian Kerr) and June (Eva Greig), are puzzled and appalled by his detached and emotionless cruelty. With the help of the farm's surprisingly chatty animals, including a goat named Judge (Charles Shaughnessy of The Nanny), the kids embark on a systematic program designed to bring Dad's humanity back, based on strategies outlined in the Dickens story.
Is it any good?
Of all the variations based on A Christmas Carol that are available, this one is definitely not going to be the best. Only the youngest viewers will be forgiving enough to watch this uncritically. As far as kids are concerned, the talking animals, including a llama, a goat, a bunny, a duck, a dog, and a rat, will be the draw. Apart from those cute cast members, My Dad is Scrooge certainly doesn’t have much to offer. No effort is made to show why one plan of attack has no success in changing the Scrooge-ish dad for the better, but another similar approach does work. All problems are magically resolved at the end with no particular connection to reality. At one point the animals run from a threat and a web-footed friend yells, "I'm going to duck!" Another animal comments, "She said 'duck,' and she is a duck!" That observation exemplifies the best the script has to offer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why someone who used to be nice might suddenly become mean and selfish. Does My Dad is Scrooge really give any good reason for the dad to stop being nice?
Parents are usually expected to help their children when kids make mistakes, but sometimes children see parents make mistakes. Do you think kids can act to help their parents in those situations? What might be an example?
Have you seen other versions of A Christmas Carol? How does this one compare?
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