What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Holidaze is a feel-good story whose reminders about the comforts of home and the value of meaningful relationships are nicely suited to the holidays. The tug-of-war between big business and small-town America is central to the plot, and the story casts corporate executives as exceedingly greedy and unfeeling. There's a sweet love story that brews, generating some suggestive bedroom scenes (in one, a man asks his wife, "You wanna do it?") with kissing and cuddling but nothing too overt. Salty language is similarly minimal ("hell" and "bitch" a few times). On the upside, Melody's emotional journey can encourage teens to take stock of their own values as they consider the risks and benefits of putting a high premium on the almighty dollar.
What's the story?
Melody Gerard (Jennie Garth) is a tough-as-nails corporate executive living the urbanite dream in Chicago, happily distant from her small-town roots. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, she's looking forward to spending the holidays in the Caribbean with her girlfriends, but first she's headed to her sleepy hometown of Streetsville to persuade the reluctant residents and local business owners -– including her mother, Elaine (Mary Kay Place), and her ex-fiance, Carter (Cameron Mathison) –- to approve the construction of a controversial new megastore her company wants to build. But after a bump to the head, Melody finds herself in an alternate reality where she's happily settled in Streetsville, married to Carter, and vehemently opposing the advances of the overbearing corporation. When the dust settles, Melody faces a decision between the life she leads and the life she truly wants.
Is it any good?
HOLIDAZE is a cute, comical holiday story that's greatly bolstered by the inclusion of Garth as the delightfully two-sided Melody. Having purposely pursued her career at the expense of marriage, and edging in on a coveted promotion because of this decision, Melody is a passable but mostly exaggerated representation of a modern career woman, and her inner struggle to find her true calling is fairly tangible to older viewers as well. Since we get to see her in both the corporate and small-town rolls, teens especially can contemplate the obvious risks and benefits of each of the divergent life paths.
That said, this movie isn't out to win converts to either side of the career/family struggle. At its heart, it's a dual love story, with one thread following Melody and Carter's prospective reunion and the other exploring Melody's reacquaintance with her small-town values. Ultimately both will warm your heart just in time for the holidays.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the balance between work and family. Teens: Is this a familiar tone in your home? What challenges does it present? Do you see it as a struggle you will win in the future? What goals do you have on each front?
Teens: Why is it difficult to change the direction of a path you're on? What are the risks involved in making a big change in life? Do you have experience with turning adversity into opportunity?
Does this movie make unfair claims about the motivations of big business in general? Can big-box stores and other large companies have any positive effect in communities? Is it possible to strike a good balance in this struggle?