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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Santa Girl is a 2019 holiday romcom in which Santa's daughter goes to college for one semester while her dad tries to arrange a marriage between her and Jack Frost's son. While a basically tame movie, there are some moments of bad behavior. For instance, a boy who takes Cassie Claus to a college party tries to get her drunk by giving her a red plastic cup filled with vodka without telling her. Later, Cassie is a victim of internet bullying when someone posts memes on social media of her while making fun of her for rumors that her father is Santa Claus; she's called a "freak" while walking across campus to the judging stares of fellow students. Cassie's two male suitors get into a fistfight -- punches, kicks. Champagne drinking at a formal dance party.
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What's the story?
In SANTA GIRL, Cassie Claus (Jennifer Stone) lives in the North Pole, but wants to attend college and experience life away from her strict, no-nonsense father (Barry Bostwick). Reluctantly, Santa tells Cassie that she can attend college for one semester before marrying Jack Frost's son, an arrangement conceived less out of love and more to help Santa's financial bottom line. Accompanied by a quirky elf named Pep sent by Santa to chaperone, Cassie arrives on campus, ready to see what "the real world" has to offer. Soon, she meets a boy named J.R., a popular frat boy who clearly wants to be more than friends. Shortly after that, she meets Sam (Devon Werkheiser), a sensitive math whiz who is low on money but kind and self deprecating. As Cassie tries to navigate the social and academic demands of college life, Jack Frost himself arrives in the interests of keeping Cassie's impending arranged marriage on track. While Cassie tries to keep her North Pole background a secret, she starts to find in increasingly difficult to do so. While J.R. seems like little more than a "bro" to Cassie, and Sam seems to have been behind a nefarious internet plot to destroy her reputation, Cassie must choose between following her heart, or giving up her life, future, and independence in order to keep her father happy and their toy delivery business profitable.
Is it any good?
This holiday movie is as paint-by-numbers as you can get. While there's nothing particularly bad about Santa Girl, there's nothing particularly good about it either. It's easy to imagine the premise being the easiest "elevator pitch" in Hollywood history ("Santa's daughter goes to college." "Green light!"), and the result feels like either a plot lifted from Shakespeare or an episode of late-period Growing Pains, with jokes in the vein of Elf thrown in to keep it nice and festive. Nonetheless, even with Cassie giving out free hot chocolate to any takers while being followed around by a spritely elf, it's more romom than Christmas special.
The chemistry between Jennifer Stone as Cassie Claus and Devon Werkheiser as the smart and sensitive underdog isn't bad, even if Sam's bro-brah rival for Cassie's heart answers the never-asked question, "What if Troy Aikman took up acting?" Santa Girl isn't as mawkish and sappy as so much holiday fare, but it's about as trite. There are attempts at self aware humor, but none of these jokes ever seem to land. The result is slightly above-average for holiday movies, but to even say that is more of a comment on how much guilty parties like the Hallmark Channel have ruined the genre by mass-producing so much schlock for so long.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about holiday-themed romcoms. Why do you think that so many romcoms are set during the holiday season? How do the holidays add layers of conflict and deeper meanings?
How does Santa Girl address topics like teens trying to get independence from overbearing parents, internet bullying, college drinking?
How does Cassie seem to embody Christmas values such as generosity?
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