A California Christmas Parent Guide
Whether you love Hallmark-style romantic movies or love to hate them, there's plenty here for you to enjoy.
Parent Movie Review
Joseph (Josh Swickard) has it all: good looks, lots of money, eager women, a cushy job at his mom’s (Julie Lancaster) company, and no need to lift a finger. That is, until his mom tasks him with securing the purchase of a ranch whose owners refuse to sell for any amount. Posing as a ranch hand, Joseph tries to win over the owner, Callie (Lauren Swickard), and convince her to sell. But as Joseph and Callie grow closer, Joseph starts to reconsider his values and goals.
I think I’d like to start out by saying that this barely qualifies as a Christmas movie. Based on the title, I expected a full Hallmark-style holiday romance, where the rich city boy learns the true meaning of Christmas. That does not happen. The film does take place during the holiday season, so there’s a Christmas tree in the living room and some holiday songs on the radio, but it’s very much in the background and has little to do with the plot. The story could have been set at any time of the year and it wouldn’t have made much difference. You may think I’m splitting hairs here, but I will not stand for false advertising in my low budget romance movies. It’s the principle of the thing.
All things considered, A California Christmas is better than I expected. I mean, objectively it’s not good; I am fully aware of that. It’s cheesy and nonsensical and has some questionable messaging about romance. Relationships based on lies are always a bad idea, contrary to what every romantic drama would have you believe. But that’s kind of the point of this genre. Those of you who voluntarily sit down to watch this film will get exactly what you want out of it. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable, the side characters are funny and charming, and the story is sweet and straightforward.
If you’re one of those people who sincerely loves cheesy romance flicks, you’ll enjoy this movie. If you’re one of those people who enjoys hate-watching cheesy romance flicks, you’ll also enjoy this movie. There’s enough to enjoy and enough to laugh at that you’ll have a good time either way - just maybe wait until the kids are in bed.Directed by Shaun Paul Piccinino. Starring Lauren Swickard, Josh Swickard, Amanda Detmer. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release December 14, 2020. Updated December 15, 2020
Watch the trailer for A California Christmas
A California Christmas
Rating & Content Info
Why is A California Christmas rated PG-13? A California Christmas is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some sexuality
Violence: A woman carries a gun a couple of times and points it at someone once. Two men get into a barfight, consisting mostly of punching. One of the men is shown with a bruised cheek afterwards.
Sexual Content: A woman is shown waking up in a man’s bed, heavily implying a one-night stand. A man checks out a woman’s butt. A couple kiss multiple times. A couple are seen kissing and undressing, sex is implied, but there is no nudity.
Profanity: Eight or so mild expletives, and a handful of uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Bottles and glasses of wine are visible throughout most of the movie. Wine is a central part of the story. One of the characters is a bar tender, so multiple scenes take place in a bar where people can be seen drinking. Two characters down shots.
Page last updated December 15, 2020
A California Christmas Parents' Guide
Why won’t Callie sell the ranch? What is so important to her about the property? Do you have a strong attachment to a place for family reasons?
Related home video titles:
Another romance set on a farm is The Lost Husband. Recently widowed, Libby brings her kids to visit her Aunt Jean’s farm – and gets to know her handsome farm manager.
For a real life documentary about farming and loving the land, check out The Biggest Little Farm.
If it’s holiday romance that you’re looking for, Midnight at the Magnolia tells a sweet and clean story for New Year’s Eve. And if you just can’t get enough of cheesy Christmas themed movies, check out Christmas with a Prince and Operation Christmas Drop.