Holidate parents guide

Holidate Parent Guide

There's no festive fun to be found in this film's overabundance of negative content.

Overall D

Netflix: Sloane and Jackson hate the holidays - the awkward family dinners and interrogations, the bad last-minute plus ones... They think they've found a solution, though. They now plan to "holidate" each other, just for the big events, with no strings attached.

Release date October 28, 2020

Violence B-
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Holidate rated TV-MA? The MPAA rated Holidate TV-MA

Run Time: 103 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Normally you need to wait until Christmas Day to find treats in your stocking. But with Holidate, Netflix is giving its subscribers a lump of coal the week before Halloween.

What makes this film such an unwelcome early Christmas surprise? The storyline itself isn’t the problem. The film opens with two single adults – Sloane (played by a chippy Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey) – who are tired of the social pressure they feel over the holidays. Sloane’s mother (Frances Fisher), in particular, is so obsessed with her daughter’s single status that she is practically unhinged. And Jackson has just survived a nightmarish Christmas holiday with his date’s parents. Jackson and Sloane run into each other at the mall, commiserate over their seasonal misery and eventually decide to be each other’s New Year’s Eve date, no strings attached. The evening goes well (aside from two wardrobe malfunctions) and the couple decide to make it a standing arrangement for the rest of the year. But their no-benefits policy gets complicated when they start to develop feelings for each other…

The script isn’t brilliant, but it’s decent enough rom-com fodder, and in better hands, could have been genuinely funny. The biggest issue with Holidate is its stocking full of negative content. The six dozen swear words turn the air blue, but a bigger problem is that the entire movie is awash in alcohol, with characters drinking to excess at almost every social event. They also use marijuana (including before driving) and badger another person to try the drug even though she’s unwilling.

The most dreadful part of Holidate, though, is its sexual content. Early on in the movie, Jackson is sexually assaulted by a date, who throws off her shirt and knocks him into her bed where she proceeds to rip open his shirt and pants – without his consent, followed by implied sexual activity I can’t describe on a family website. Non-consensual sexual activity is always sexual assault and making the victim male doesn’t make it funny. But this is only the beginning – the movie tries to find humor in frequent sexual innuendo and cringingly awkward sexual conversation. Few things are worse than listening to Sloane’s mother tell her to sexually satisfy Jackson so he’ll stay with her and she won’t get old and die alone in a diaper. If that’s not bad enough, we also get to watch Sloane and her aunt both lick and suck their dates’ fingers at a wedding – which ratchets up the cringe quotient for the film.

Clearly, this isn’t a movie for teens and I question its popularity with adult rom-com fans. It’s weak on the comedy end of the formula but the biggest problem is that there’s precious little romantic warmth or sparkle. The sad part is that there’s a decent rom-com (very deeply) buried in this story. A better writer and less bored actors could have created a movie with fewer content issues and maybe a little tenderness instead of the crass selfishness that dominates the narrative. Then this would have been a Christmas gift worth waiting for instead of the disappointment that gets returned to the store on December 26th.

Directed by John Whitesell. Starring Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, and Kristin Chenoweth. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release October 28, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for Holidate

Rating & Content Info

Why is Holidate rated TV-MA? Holidate is rated TV-MA by the MPAA

Violence: A woman wears a dress with a wine stain that looks like blood. Men fire flares at a man in a boat, who falls over the side. A man’s finger is blown off by a firecracker. The finger is shown in a bag and his hand is covered with a bloody towel. An unlicensed driver drives recklessly and causes a minor car accident. A man collapses with a heart attack.
Sexual Content: A woman mentions her daughter’s first period. A woman takes off her shirt (her bra is visible), then pushes a man on to the bed and rips off his shirt and pants without his consent. Sexual activity is implied and is later discussed. Types of sexual activity we can’t describe on a family website are referred to in coded language. A man talks to a woman about her breasts and bottom. A woman mentions being a nude artist’s model, with specific discussion of her genitalia. People discuss sending explicit genital photos over texts. A woman boasts about being especially talented at sex and at starting early. A woman’s dress rips while she’s dancing, showing her breasts to the crowd; they are not visible on screen. Women mention watching porn. There are a few mentions of orgasm. Masturbation is mentioned using a slang term on a few occasions. A woman repeatedly wears very low cut costumes. A couple have a non-explicit discussion of sexual experimentation. A woman is shown wearing her bra and a man’s underwear. A couple try to figure out if they had sex while they were drunk. A woman encourages her daughter to sexually satisfy a man. Women lick and nibble men’s fingers in public. A man and woman twerk on a dance floor. The term “whore” is used in a joking context, in front of children, who proceed to use the word. A man helps a woman remove a costume she can’t take off. A couple kiss and embrace in bed. The man removes his shirt and the woman’s shirt; sex is implied but not seen. A couple argue about their sexual relationship in a public place, with children present.
Profanity: There are over six dozen profanities in the movie, including 32 sexual expletives, some of which are heard in song lyrics and one which is used by a child. Terms of deity, scatological curses, slang terms for sexual anatomy, and minor curse words are also used in the film. Sexual anatomy is often described with slang terms. Characters badger a woman into swearing, although she doesn’t want to. A married woman is upset about kissing another man. A man and woman kiss; she jumps up and wraps her legs around his waist.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Alcohol is central to all the social events in the movie and is consumed by main characters, who frequently over-imbibe and get drunk. A main character talks about drinking vodka to “numb the pain”. A character is encouraged to drink heavily in a beer chugging contest. A man drinks so much beer that he passes out. One scene involves marijuana use, including by a person who is driving a vehicle. Another character is urged repeatedly to try the drug even though she doesn’t want to. Two main characters smoke marijuana in a hospital. Characters argue over whether or not one of them is a smoker. A woman offers a man a cigarette, which remains unseen.

Page last updated

Holidate Parents' Guide

What do you think of the concept of a holidate? Do you think the no-strings-attached aspect is a plus or a minus? What do people miss out on in a relationship of convenience? Why do you think some people find that appealing?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Holidate movie is October 28, 2020. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

Isn’t It Romantic? features another jaded woman and leading man from Australia.

Social class, overheard words, and hurt feelings keep Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy apart in Pride & Prejudice. A modern remake moves the story to India in Bride & Prejudice.

In You’ve Got Mail, business rivals in the real world find themselves falling love online.

The guy’s mother’s the difficult one in Crazy Rich Asians.

A pre-med student and Danish prince fall in love but have to decide if their different life goals can align in The Prince & Me.

A young man bets a girl he can make her fall in love with him in one day in The Sun Is Also a Star.