Father Christmas is Back parents guide

Father Christmas is Back Parent Guide

It's a bad sign when a movie, even a terrible one, can't provoke any emotional reaction beyond boredom.

Overall C-

Netflix: Reunited for Christmas, four sisters are horrified when their father, James Christmas, shows up for the over-the-top festivities with his young American girlfriend.

Release date November 7, 2021

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

Why is Father Christmas is Back rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Father Christmas is Back PG-13 for sexually suggestive material and some language

Run Time: 105 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Despite their surname, the Christmas family have found Christmas to be a fraught affair. After James Christmas (Kelsey Grammar) walked out on his family on Christmas morning twenty seven years ago, his daughters Caroline (Nathalie Cox), Joanna (Elizabeth Hurley), Paulina (Naomi Frederick), and Vicky (Talulah Riley) found different ways to cope during the holidays. This year, Caroline has decided that the best way to banish the ghost of Christmas past is to host her entire family and have a completely perfect festive season – which is obviously a recipe for disaster. The usual squabbles ensue but things start going off the rails when Joanna wants to trade rooms with their mother, Elizabeth (Caroline Quentin), so she can share the space with her new and unexpected boyfriend, Felix (Ray Fearon). But it gets worse….

While Caroline is still trying to prop up her perfect little family holiday, the real disaster strikes: James Christmas arrives, in the flesh, with his young, blonde, and worst of all, American girlfriend, Jackie (April Bowlby). With the happiest time of the year rapidly dissolving into utter chaos, Caroline might need to reconsider what she wants out of the holiday – and what she can reasonably expect to get.

There are so many things about this movie that ought to be completely infuriating – the acting, which ranges from awful to mediocre, the lazy writing, the clichéd plot, the bland emotional drama… I should have finished this film in a fine rage. However, the movie creates a level of boredom which makes any emotional response impossible. The only thing I’m really feeling right now is a strong desire to take a long nap. It’s a bad sign when a movie, even a terrible one, can’t provoke any emotional reaction.

The problems don’t stop there. Despite remarkably little profanity or violence, the film more than compensates with a barrage of sexual innuendo and near constant drinking. The sexual comedy is too raunchy for children, but the plot is too dull for sentient adults – to say nothing of the cartoonish sound effects which keep cropping up like bad food poisoning. I can’t imagine an adult who would want to use the film as anything but a sleep aid, although Caroline’s shrill squealing makes that an unlikely proposition.

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas movies generally, but this doesn’t even have time to fail as a Christmas movie because it’s so busy failing as a movie in the first place. There are better sources of festive entertainment out there: for example, you could pour snow down the back of your collar, slip while scraping ice off your car, or try to find a polite way to get rid of carolers during a bout of extreme indigestion. Any or all of those would be both more entertaining and more festive – and would certainly take up less of your time.

Directed by Mick Davis, Philippe Martinez. Starring Kelsey Grammar, Elizabeth Hurley, John Cleese, Nathalie Cox, Caroline Quentin, Talulah Riley. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release November 7, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Father Christmas is Back

Father Christmas is Back
Rating & Content Info

Why is Father Christmas is Back rated PG-13? Father Christmas is Back is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexually suggestive material and some language

Violence: A person punches someone else.
Sexual Content: There is plenty of crude sexual innuendo. A person is seen tied to a bed. Some characters are seen from the shoulders up in the shower. There are several scenes of implied sexual content. There are references to adultery.
Profanity: There is one use of scatological profanity, and infrequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are frequently seen drinking socially, sometimes to excess.

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Father Christmas is Back Parents' Guide

Caroline wants to have the perfect Christmas. How does she define it? Is her dream Christmas even possible?  What’s your idea of the perfect Christmas? Have you ever had one? If you can’t have a perfect Christmas, what are the most important elements of your Christmas celebration?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

The best family Christmas disaster movie for my money is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Viewers may also enjoy festive flicks like Just Another Christmas, Arthur Christmas, The Christmas Chronicles, Home Alone, or Klaus.