My Dad’s Christmas Date parents guide

My Dad’s Christmas Date Parent Guide

It's wobbly in spots, but this good-hearted rom-com is more original than many other films in the genre.

Overall B-

Netflix: In this British rom-com, a teenage girl tries to find the best gift for her widowed father - a new girlfriend. The catch? She doesn't tell him what she's doing.

Release date November 1, 2021

Violence B
Sexual Content B
Profanity C-
Substance Use C

Why is My Dad’s Christmas Date rated TV-MA? The MPAA rated My Dad’s Christmas Date TV-MA for language

Run Time: 91 minutes

Parent Movie Review

It’s a bleak midwinter in the northern city of York. David (Jeremy Piven) and his daughter, Julia (nicknamed Jules and played by Olivia Mai Barett) are mourning the loss of wife and mother Claire, who died two years ago. David soothes his grief by imagining his wife’s presence, and Jules is acting out by picking fights with her dad and floundering at school. Deciding that her father would be happier with a girlfriend, Jules creates profiles for him on dating apps…without telling him.

In most cases, romantic comedies are predictable, with predetermined beats and conclusions. My Dad’s Christmas Date is not innovative cinema, but it successfully breaks out of the mold that normally constrains other films of the genre. The best part of this movie is not knowing what’s coming next. Yes, there are times when you are going to guess what’s coming, but I was pleasantly surprised at the number of times I was wrong during the film. Compared to other films of the type, this one feels a bit messy, in that all the loose ends aren’t tied down – but, frankly, that’s one of the things I like about the story. Life is messy, after all.

The movie’s originality somewhat compensates for its weaknesses in pacing and acting. Jeremy Piven is clearly giving his all to the role of the grieving widower – but sometimes he gives too much. His efforts to emote for the camera are a bit squirmy and I blame director Nick Davis for not dialing him back. As for Olivia Mai Barett, her performance as Jules is suitably angsty – and I am pleased that the makeup department didn’t feel obliged to cover up every single zit the teenage actress developed over the course of filming. Combined with an excess of blue eyeliner and an age-appropriate wardrobe, she looks and acts the part convincingly.

Hiccups aside, there’s plenty here to entertain genre fans. Not only does some of the humor actually land, but the movie comes with great messages about the importance of family, the need to communicate openly and kindly, and the importance of letting people grieve in their own way. Aside from twenty or so swear words and scenes of social drinking, the movie is comparatively clean, with an absence of unclad sexual content.

I’ll be honest: This movie isn’t going to change your life and you likely won’t remember it in a few months. But if you’re looking for a good-hearted story that will leave you feeling pleasantly sniffly, My Dad’s Christmas Date might just fit the bill. Get your carb of choice and fluffy blanket and settle down to laugh and cry as this father and daughter just try to make it through life’s rough patches together.

Directed by Mick Davis. Starring Jeremy Piven, Olivia-Mai Barrett, Hadar Cats, Joely Richardson. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release November 1, 2021. Updated

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My Dad’s Christmas Date
Rating & Content Info

Why is My Dad’s Christmas Date rated TV-MA? My Dad’s Christmas Date is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for language

Violence:   There is a joking threat of castration. A woman talks about a pit bull attacking and killing her dog. There are multiple scenes of people arguing and shouting at each other. A man throws a glass on the floor, shattering it.
Sexual Content:   There is brief mention of a fictional incestuous relationship. There is an irreverent reference to the immaculate conception of Jesus Christ. There is a brief discussion of adolescent sex. A woman makes an anatomically explicit reference to her own delivery. There are two scenes of a teenage boy embracing and kissing girls in bed.
Profanity: There are approximately twenty swear words in the film, with one sexual expletive, eight scatological curses, ten terms of deity and a minor curse word. Also used are
Alcohol / Drug Use:   Adults drink alcohol in a variety of social situations and with meals. Teenagers drink beer at a party.

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My Dad’s Christmas Date Parents' Guide

How do David and Jules deal with Claire’s death? How do the expectations of people around them make their loss more difficult? What could they do to help each other? How could they improve their ability to talk to one another?

Home Video

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There are other films involving children matchmaking for their parents. In The Parent Trap, twin sisters get involved with their divorced parents’ love lives when they conspire to reunite them. Sleepless in Seattle tells the story of a widower whose son calls a radio talk show to find a partner for him.

Last Christmas is another festive film that raises issues of love and death.