Best. Christmas. Ever! parents guide

Best. Christmas. Ever! Parent Guide

Comedies often require some suspension of disbelief but sticking with this story requires a complete disconnection from rational behavior.

Overall C

Netflix: After years of reading her old friend's too-good-to-be-true holiday newsletter, Charlotte sets out to prove that nobody's life can be that perfect.

Release date November 16, 2023

Violence B
Sexual Content B
Profanity A-
Substance Use B+

Why is Best. Christmas. Ever! rated TV-PG? The MPAA rated Best. Christmas. Ever! TV-PG for suggestive dialogue.

Run Time: 80 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Charlotte (Heather Graham) can’t stand reading her old friend Jackie’s (Brandy Norwood) suspiciously braggy annual Christmas newsletter. Charlotte and her husband Rob (Jason Biggs) and their kids, Grant and Dora (Wyatt Hunt and Abby Villasmil) head out to spend Christmas with her sister’s family. They accidentally end up at Jackie’s house spending a snowed-in Christmas with her sexy husband (Matt Cedeñdo) and brilliant daughter (Madison Skye Validum). Charlotte sees this as a perfect opportunity to uncover the lies in Jackie’s Christmas newsletters, with unexpected results.

This movie started out strong for me because I related to Charlotte and Rob. They drove an old car. They had money problems. They had low-stakes arguments and slightly weird kids. My kids especially got a kick out of Grant’s creepy stuffed animal Monkey Bob, and Dora’s search for her own latent superpowers.

I’m new to Hallmark-style Christmas movies, but I do realize they require some extra suspension of disbelief. They have garnered devoted followings because they don’t mimic reality, and they’re not supposed to! Reality is cold and harsh and absurd, whereas these Christmas movies are warm and cozy and deliver tidy endings.

However, plausibility completely fell apart for me when Jackie not only invited Charlotte’s entire family to stay with her for Christmas break, but also let her stay for several more nights after finding Charlotte rifling through her belongings. I found myself wishing multiple times that Jackie would just kick Charlotte out for her shenanigans.

All in all, though, it was good to see Brandy again. Her singing remains impeccable, so at least you have that to look forward to when the cringe factor gets too high.

Directed by Mary Lambert. Starring Heather Graham, Brandy Norwood, Jason Biggs. Running time: 80 minutes. Theatrical release November 16, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for Best. Christmas. Ever!

Best. Christmas. Ever!
Rating & Content Info

Why is Best. Christmas. Ever! rated TV-PG? Best. Christmas. Ever! is rated TV-PG by the MPAA for suggestive dialogue.

Violence: A karate instructor kicks people in the face. A driver slides on the ice and the car winds up in a snowdrift. A woman falls out of a second floor window but her fall is cushioned by snow.
Sexual Content: There is some suggestive dialogue including a shaking-the-bed joke.
Profanity: There is a term of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink wine in moderation.

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Best. Christmas. Ever! Parents' Guide

What university does Beatrix attend? How old was she when she got accepted? Why do you think she is willing to put up with Charlotte’s antics? What would you do in her situation?

What does Charlotte do for a living? Why does she not believe what she reads in Brandy’s letters?

How does the Jenner family remember Daniel?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

My new favorite Christmas movie is, hands down, Klaus on Netflix. Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) is the lazy son of a postmaster general who gets banished to far-flung Smeerensburg to prove to his dad that he’s not totally worthless. He makes an unlikely alliance with local toymaker Klaus (J. K. Simmons) to get the constantly feuding members of the town to actually write letters, instead of fighting. It’s so good. Just go watch it, right now. Please. It’s PG for some tense action sequences but is good for the whole family.

If you have Apple TV, treat yourself to the musical Spirited starring Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer. A modern take on A Christmas Carol, this movie is hilarious and heartfelt, with tunes from the same duo that brought us The Greatest Showman. PG-13 rating for its innuendo and a bit of violence, so this one is best for tweens and teens. (You’ll note that my colleague has a different take on this film – but, hey, the world would be dull if we all agreed on everything.)

My husband reminded me that While You Were Sleeping is technically a Christmas movie (which I agree with more than the “Die Hard is a Christmas movie” crowd). It stars a very young Sandra Bullock as a lonely woman working the L train in Chicago who has a crush on a handsome executive (Peter Gallagher). When she saves his life after a mugging, he’s in a coma so she has no choice but to meet–and fall in love with–his entire family (including a charming young Bill Pullman). It’s just lovely, and it’s on Disney+. I showed it to my older kids last year and was shocked at how much they loved it, and how much they fretted about each new layer of miscommunication. Give it a try!

As for my favorite interpretation of A Christmas Carol, leave it to The Muppets. Michael Caine acts his heart out as Scrooge opposite his fuzzy cast members, which just makes it that much more endearing. Plus the script adaptation pulls some of my favorite passages directly from the book, while building on the Muppets’ giant heart to boost that feeling of “the love we’ve found.”