Christmas as Usual parents guide

Christmas as Usual Parent Guide

A lack of chemistry between the leads dampens this shaky rom-com.

Overall C+

Netflix: Thea brings her boyfriend Jashan home to Norway for a family Christmas. It might not be as merry as she expects.

Release date December 6, 2023

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

Why is Christmas as Usual rated TV-14? The MPAA rated Christmas as Usual TV-14 for language

Run Time: 89 minutes

Parent Movie Review

“God Jul” – it’s Norwegian for “Merry Christmas” but that’s more a wish than a reality for Thea (Ida Ursin-Holm).

Living in Los Angeles and recently engaged to her Indian boyfriend, Thea is bringing Jashan (Kanan Gill) home to Norway to meet her family. She dreams of a joyous engagement announcement and a picture-perfect Christmas season, but it looks like she can’t have both.

Christmas as Usual tries to be a cross-cultural romantic comedy and sometimes it succeeds. Jash’s mystification over the “Norwegian Christmas cult” is amusing and his willingness to try isbading before he knows what it is will raise a chuckle. Too many other moments fall flat – like Jash’s inadvertent disruption of a church service – or lack subtlety – like Thea’s family’s overreaction to a spicy Indian meal.

Rom-coms often have trouble hitting both the “romance” and “comedy” elements of the genre. This film’s sometimes shaky comedy would be manageable if the romance were enchanting. But it isn’t. Thea and Jash don’t have much on-screen chemistry. He’s eager and endearing; she’s tentative and withdrawn. Frankly, the Christmas tree has more sparkle than these two conjure up together.

Christmas as Usual might not deliver the expected rom-com emotions, but it also delivers less sex than usual with only a few kissing scenes. On the flip side, it contains some scenes of heavy drinking and brief drunk driving. There are also a dozen profanities, including two sexual expletives. The TV-14 rating is appropriate here.

Thematically, this story opens discussions about prejudice, insularity, loyalty, and the importance of honest communication. Unfortunately, these themes, like the romance, don’t feel well developed. Christmas as Usual delivers a few laughs and might prompt some self-assessment, but like the rest of the seasonal rom-com genre, it doesn’t make an effort to go any deeper. It’s like an empty box under the tree: it looks pretty and might create a fun sense of anticipation, but once you unwrap it, there’s really nothing there.

Directed by Peter Holmsen. Starring Ida Ursin-Holm, Kanan Gill. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release December 6, 2023. Updated

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Christmas as Usual
Rating & Content Info

Why is Christmas as Usual rated TV-14? Christmas as Usual is rated TV-14 by the MPAA for language

Violence: Two men push and shove each other, knocking over a Christmas tree.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss.
Profanity: There are approximately a dozen profanities, including two sexual expletives, six scatological curses, and two terms of deity and minor profanities. 
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters get drunk, and one briefly tries to drive, causing a minor collision. Adults drink alcohol with meals.

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Christmas as Usual Parents' Guide

What do you think of Thea and Jashan’s relationship? Why do you think she’s reluctant to tell her mother about their engagement? What finally solidifies their relationship?

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