A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The story celebrates themes of being true to yourself, standing up for what's right, being open to change, respecting others, and seeing past a person's appearance. Jennifer learns to take other people's feelings into account, even when doing so costs her a personal goal. The story comes down solidly on the side of small-town America in face-offs with big business and casts corporate execs as greedy and self-serving at the cost of average citizens. A contest to cast a new mall Santa focuses on men's sex appeal as a main criteria.
Positive Role Models
Jennifer evolves from a self-centered corporate climber to a person who values people's feelings and respects that the jobs they do have merit. David risks everything to stand up for what he believes in and to save his father's lifelong business. The corporate "villains" don't budge in their goals, but that just serves to accentuate the emotional divide between them and the heartier characters.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Contestants in a "Sexy Santa" competition flaunt their bare chests, gyrate their hips, and shake their booties to the delight of female onlookers, who refer to them as "hot" and "man candy" while they rate their sex appeal. One man drops his pants to show off his boxers. There's a lot of flirting among adults. A sweet romance culminates in some kissing, but that's as far as it goes.
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A couple uses of "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A few scenes show adults drinking beer or wine with meals, but it's not central to the plot.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this romantic holiday movie -- which features an appealing, small-town guy-next-door hero and juxtaposes him against a corrupt corporate mogul who threatens his family's livelihood -- has relevance to modern times and good things to say about personal empowerment. Men flaunt their physiques -- flexing bare chests and sporting boxers in some cases -- in a contest of sex appeal, and there's some kissing and flirting among couples, including (in the case of flirting) a pair of gay men. The story has holiday spirit to spare and inspires hope that character and perseverance will continue to be hallmarks of success.
Is It Any Good?
It doesn't break any new ground in the romcom genre, but DESPERATELY SEEKING SANTA has a certain appeal, thanks to the empowering David-and-Goliath story surrounding David's mission to save his restaurant, which parallels the blossoming relationship between him and Jennifer. It's rewarding to root for a kind underdog who singlehandedly takes on corporate greed and vies for the hand of a girl whose true beauty he helped reveal. And in the process, it's impossible not to reexamine your own definition of success and happiness. This story's commentary on the tug-of-war between small-town life and big business probably isn't its main intended message, but in light of modern economic times, the movie's timeliness pulls it to the forefront nonetheless.
Of course, none of this outshines the holiday spirit that takes root in the story. It's always uplifting to see someone (fictional or not) rediscover the meaning of Christmas, and Jennifer's journey from the ranks of Scrooge to a full-fledged Christmas believer is heartening. As for the content, with the exception of some references to sex appeal and a few kisses, this sweet story is suitable for older tweens and up.
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.