A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
"Just because you don't get caught doesn't mean you don't do bad things." "Every day, you have an opportunity to change who you want to be." "Use your power for nice instead of naughty." The story also shows how being vulnerable can help you connect with people and build friendships.
Positive Role Models
Main character lies and schemes to get what he thinks he deserves, even deceiving his parents and teachers, disrespecting school rules, and manipulating his sister. Despite these negative behaviors, the character demonstrates leadership skills and communicates effectively, instilling confidence in the team. He's creative and eventually shows growth and a change of heart, redirecting his energy toward doing good. All children in the group accept their differences and show vulnerability. They're loyal to their friends and willing to take responsibility for their actions.
Cast brings together children from different backgrounds, including Latino, Filipino, Korean, and more. They all excel in various fields and have equitable relationships. Some characters fall into typical stereotypes, like the tech-smart Asian or the fashion designer. The role of Santa is portrayed by an African American actor. One character has two dads. North Pole is portrayed as celebrating different cultures through traditional chanting and typical foods.
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Violence & Scariness
Brief moments of visual suspense, but not scary. Short scene of a fire breaking out in school. Airplane makes an emergency landing in the North Pole. During a chase with snowmobiles, some of the North Pole guards get into accidents.
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The youngest character repeats the word "sucker" for comedic purposes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Naughty Nine is a lively holiday movie that takes inspiration from Ocean's Eleven and late-'80s adventure movies. It features a fast-paced narrative, quick dialogue, and a delightful Christmas design. The story follows a group of mischievous children who end up on Santa's "naughty list" and come together to claim their rightful gifts. The main character is shown lying, scheming, and deceiving others, and while he gets away with it, his sister warns him that it's not right. As a coming-of-age story, he eventually learns to use his talents for good. Throughout the film, characters demonstrate great communication and teamwork despite differences in age, ethnicity, and taste. While Danny Glover's interpretation of Santa Claus breaks some ground in representation, other attempts at diversity come off as stereotypical. There's nothing too scary or violent, but expect mild language, with one kid repeating "sucker" a few times. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This tween heist is a great blend of action and adventure, perfect for families' holiday watchlist. In some ways, The Naughty Nine is similar to classic Christmas movies with limited budgets and ambitious plans of adventures in the North Pole. At the same time, it provides a modern version of a winter wonderland, paired with a quick-witted script that swiftly moves from scene to scene. Designed for short attention spans, it promises to hold a long-term place in the hall of holiday family fare, ending with a cliffhanger that promises to expand the franchise.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.