Christmas Is Canceled Parent Guide
The unoriginal script is matched by flat acting and then dragged down by sexual innuendo, profanity, and glorified alcohol consumption.
Parent Movie Review
Back home after a research retreat in Africa, Emma (Hayley Orrantia) slips into her role of helpful daughter to her father, Jack (Dermot Mulroney). Still grieving for her mother, who died two years ago, Emma finds comfort in spending time with her dad and reliving her memories of happier times. With Christmas coming, Emma looks forward to enjoying all their favorite traditions together. Then Brandy (Janel Parrish) walks up the path to their front door…
A “frenemy” from high school, Brandy is not a welcome sight. Dislike is replaced by full blown horror when Emma learns that this is not a casual visit: Brandy and Jack are romantically involved, and Brandy will be joining them for the holiday. Enraged at the thought of sharing Christmas with an interloper, Emma deploys the nuclear option and swears to end this relationship before it destroys her family.
Only one question came to mind as I watched this film: “Why was it made?” There is nothing original, clever, or funny in the script. (I laughed at one – only one – joke in the entire runtime.) We’ve all seen variations of the story before: jealous person tries to destroy a relationship relationship before deciding that the person’s happiness matters. Yawn.
The uninspired script is matched by the flat acting. Dermot Mulroney is so robotic as Jack that he seems sedated. Hayley Orrantia’s performance as Emma is perplexing: the character’s behavior is emotionally extreme and unbalanced, but her portrayal is almost entirely colorless. The rationales behind her bizarre actions are poorly explained and not entirely convincing.
If you still think this holiday relationship flick sounds fun, let me give you a warning about the negative content. There are close to two dozen profanities in the movie – there might be more but I kept zoning out and rewinding the film so it’s highly possible I missed a few. (In movies this boring, drifting off is an occupational hazard for film critics.) The film also “gifts” viewers with an abundance of innuendo, including frequent crude language and sex references. In one scene, characters take turns coining slang terms to describe female genitals. Another scene sees a man having his back adjusted; the conversation is entirely made up of innuendo about gay sex. There is also a sex scene where a woman climbs on top of a man who removes her clothing: no nudity or explicit behavior is visible. Throw in a party that glorifies drinking games and intoxication, and this film is not teen-friendly. It doesn’t have an MPAA rating, but it sits on the very high end of the PG-13 rating.
One of the guilty pleasures of the holidays is settling down with emotionally rewarding movies. Whether they’re familiar classics that let you wallow in nostalgia, or syrupy romantic dramas, or new festive fare, these movies can become an important part of our Christmas traditions. Canceled for Christmas does not belong in that seasonal rotation: instead of being a warm, fuzzy holiday film, it’s the lump of coal in the bottom of your stocking.Directed by Prarthana Mohan. Starring Hayley Orrantia, Janel Parrish, Dermot Mulroney. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release December 16, 2021. Updated December 17, 2021
Watch the trailer for Christmas Is Canceled
Christmas Is Canceled
Rating & Content Info
Why is Christmas Is Canceled rated Not Rated? Christmas Is Canceled is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A character threatens to punch someone.
Sexual Content: A lesbian character mentions her partner. Someone talks about “getting laid”. A character comes up with multiple slang terms for female genitals. Men and women kiss in several scenes. A character misapplies the word “rape”. A woman gags and heaves at the thought of her father’s relationship. There is mention of bikini waxing. There is mention of “whore”. Slang terms for sex are used. Crude terms for women’s breasts are used. Two clothed women embrace in bed. A man is shirtless at a bar. A conversation about a back adjustment is couched in terms of double entendres. Two characters discuss losing virginity and sexual technique. Slang terms for male genitals are used. A woman makes threats about harming a man’s genitals. A man and woman have sex: she’s seen straddling him as he removes her clothes. They have repeated discussions about consent. A couple are heard having sex. Two women kiss.
Profanity: There are approximately one dozen scatological curses, at least eight terms of deity, a single sexual expletive, a handful of anatomical curses, and a minor profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink wine. People drink heavily at a bar and play drinking games. Adults get drunk. Adults smoke cigarettes.
Page last updated December 17, 2021
Christmas Is Canceled Parents' Guide
Why does Emma hate Brandy? Why has that hostility lasted for so long? How do Emma’s feelings about her mother’s death complicate her relationships with her dad and Brandy? How do you think Emma could have handled this situation in a more constructive way?
Related home video titles:
A much cleaner take on a bereaved family is My Dad’s Christmas Date. In this film, a teenage girl decides to help her widowed father find romance again. She creates profiles for him on dating apps – without telling him.
In The Parent Trap, twin girls plot to reunite their divorced parents.
Encouraged by his son, a widowed father shares his woes with a talk show host. Soon, women from around the country send him their sympathy in Sleepless in Seattle.