Parents' Guide to

'Twas the Night

By Tracey Petherick, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Made-for-TV Christmas caper is formulaic, unthreatening fun.

Movie NR 2001 87 minutes
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This Disney Channel offering from 2001 draws on the tried and tested formula for a classic Christmas caper. Family tensions, petty crime, skepticism over the existence of Santa Claus, and a series of misadventures that place Christmas itself in jeopardy, are all present. There are a few ludicrous plot lines, and some dated special effects that will unintentionally raise a giggle, but overall it's decent, mischievous fun.

Cranston, in the days when he was known as "the dad from Malcolm in the Middle," exercises his comedy chops as wayward Uncle Nick, the worn out con artist who's "on the naughty list for life." He inevitably learns his lesson -- this is Disney after all -- but not before a lot of lying, thieving, and generally irresponsible behavior. While 'Twas the Night can't compete with Christmas classics like Elf or even 2018's The Christmas Chronicles, it does have plenty of festive charm. And despite the sometimes unsavory behavior of naughty Nick, this Christmas caper will no doubt get the whole family in the holiday mood. When Santa uses tickling to overcome the baddies, you know you're in a pretty safe place.

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