Penguins of Madagascar: All-Nighter Before Xmas

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Penguins of Madagascar: All-Nighter Before Xmas Movie Poster Image
Merry tale of penguin hijinks is best for elementary kids.
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The special is intended to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Kids learn that fancy trappings like decorations, games, and music aren’t the source of Christmas spirit, which is instead found in making people happy and being with the people you care about. Potty humor includes a scene showing a character blowing a bubble out of a kazoo that he removed from his nose.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters must set aside their differences to create a special holiday event for the kids who are counting on them. Their methods are questionable (stealing a public Christmas tree, hijacking a truck, and interrogating a charity Santa, for instance), but their intentions are good.

Violence & Scariness

Characters slap each other and survive long falls, and a man dressed as Santa is hit by a truck, but all of it is intended to be funny and doesn’t lead to injury.

Sexy Stuff

No cursing, but there’s some substitute swearing like “oh, sugarplums" -- as well as words like “lame,” “stupid,” and “shut it” that parents might not want their kids to repeat.


This holiday special is part of The Penguins of Madagascar series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this holiday special is a merry addition to the popular animated series The Penguins of Madagascar, and most of its content is worry-free for kids. There’s some mild language (“shut it,” “stupid,” and “oh, sugarplums”) that you might not want your kids repeating, and the characters’ problem-solving tactics are questionable at best (stealing a tree because it’s the biggest, for instance), but viewed in the intended humorous light, the special is mostly harmless for older kids. Very young kids might be upset at scenes that show a Santa figure tied up and slapped or hit by a truck, so use your judgment if this kind of material bothers your kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old April 11, 2011

Best Christmas special ever!

Great Christmas special for all ages!
Kid, 7 years old January 2, 2011

What's the story?

The scheming penguins that fans first met in Madagascar are geared up for the holidays in THE ALL NIGHTER BEFORE CHRISTMAS. With the Central Park Zoo closed for the holiday, Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath) and his pals are preparing to host their annual Kidsmas celebration for the zoo families/ But the troublesome lemur “king” Julian (Danny Jacobs) complicates things by reassigning the animals’ responsibilities at the last minute. Skipper sets out to locate Santa and learn his secrets to ensure the celebration’s success, but, as usual, things don’t go entirely as planned.

Is it any good?

These crafty characters and their Mission: Impossible-style escapades are surefire fun for kids, and this merry holiday special is no exception. The story also incorporates feel-good messages about the true spirit of Christmas and the joy that’s found in being with friends and in bringing joy to others.

As is typical with this crew, there's some language (“stupid,” “lame,” “shut it,” and “oh, sugarplums,” for instance) that parents probably won’t want kids using, and it’s a good idea to make sure that kids can identify the humor in the totally unrealistic content. What violence exists is  there for comedy, but very young kids might not like to see a Santa character tied up and slapped or hit by a truck.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about helping others. How does it make you feel to do something nice for someone else? Why is it important to look beyond our own needs? What small changes can you make that would help others on a daily basis? 

  • Do you think this special enhances the Penguins series? What messages did it try to convey? Did it succeed? Why or why not?

  • How are the real-life versions of the animals in this show different from what’s portrayed in the movie? How do animators change their features for humorous effect? Where can you go to see animals like these?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holiday fun

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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