What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, as romantic comedies go, this holiday-flavored one is quite tame. There's no sexual content to speak of (a couple of kisses is as strong as it gets) and only a smattering of swearing ("damn," "bitch," "pissed"), so it's a viable option for older tweens. The story's messages are similarly likable, as the main character is forced to reassess her priorities when she realizes how her actions have negatively impacted other people. It's not destined to be a classic, but this movie has some merit and, if nothing else, certainly will leave you in the holiday spirit.
What's the story?
12 DATES OF CHRISTMAS centers on Kate (Amy Smart), a twentysomething with a life plan that hinges on winning back her ex-boyfriend and spending the rest of her life with him, even though that means disregarding the feelings of her blind date, Miles (Mark-Paul Gosselaar). But when a twist of fate causes her to relive Christmas Eve over and over again, she realizes that wanting a relationship and making one work are two very different things. Each time the clock strikes midnight and her day resets, Kate must identify where she's gone wrong and get back on track to finding -- and inspiring -- true love.
Is it any good?
Borrowing a page from the quintessential time-loop comedy Groundhog Day, 12 Dates of Christmas works in a sappy-sweet, opposites-attract love plot that just happens to take place on Christmas Eve. This holiday tie-in bolsters what's otherwise a lukewarm story marked by a handful of funny moments and the requisite romantic ones. There's little that's remarkable about the story itself, but that doesn't mean the mostly predictable ending won't leave you feeling warm and fuzzy nonetheless.
If your older tweens are champing at the bit for a more grown-up movie and they can handle a smattering of similarly grown-up language, then this might be a good option for them. The relationship at the heart of the story takes some time to develop (hence the multiple replays of Kate's day), but when it does, it's because of mutual affection and respect and Kate's newfound patience with life's unpredictability. After a few missteps, she learns to be open to change and to be more aware of how she can have a positive effect on those around her, which at the very least is a good reminder of life's learning experiences and the possibility of redemption.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about relationships. What common factors do you notice in successful relationships? How do you know when you love someone? What are some age-appropriate expressions of affection that you see among your peers? What are your family's rules about dating?
How does the media portray love and marriage? Does what you see on TV and in movies coincide with your family's values concerning relationships? Why or why not? How much of the sexual content you see is sensationalistic? Do any shows attempt to reflect reality?
Tweens: Can you think of a time in your life that you'd like to repeat and change? What would you do differently? How would you benefit from the change? Would it help others? How can we learn from the negative choices we make?