"A Holiday Treat With Cautions"
NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS is a heartwarming, lively and often humorous movie about a Puerto Rican family in Chicago dealing with various issues during a Christmas reunion. There have been many holiday-themed movies about other kinds of families. This is one of the best ones, but it is marred by a significant amount of foul language, including some vulgar jokes, that requires extreme caution, especially for younger and more morally sensitive viewers.
The movie opens with Jesse, a wounded vet from Iraq, coming home to his parents, who live on the south side of Chicago in a Hispanic neighborhood dominated by Puerto Ricans. Also coming home to visit are older brother, Mauricio, a lawyer, and his career-oriented executive wife, Sarah, as well as Jesse’s sister, Roxanna, a struggling actress working in Los Angeles.
Four major problems face the Rodriguez family. First, Sarah is not ready to become pregnant and satisfy her mother-in-law, Anna’s, desire for grandchildren. Second, Roxanna is considering giving up her lagging Hollywood career, and her dreams, to return to the comforts of her family in Chicago. Third, Jesse is not quite ready to take over his father, Eduardo’s, grocery business. Finally, the family matriarch, Anna, suddenly announces that she’s divorcing Eduardo, because she thinks her secretive husband is having another affair for the second time in their marriage. The children are devastated by this news, but Eduardo’s real secret is even more devastating. Even so, it offers the family one more chance to rally around one another during the Christmas holiday.
NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS is a funny, heartwarming and even suspenseful holiday treat for mature moviegoers, but there’s too much foul language and a few crude sexual references, including about three homosexual jokes. The movie, however, has some positive Christian content, including a powerful, spiritually uplifting scene with the Puerto Rican neighborhood singing Christmas carols in the streets, though the Christian content should have played a more central role in the story. Despite the lapses in the movie’s content, the characters are endearing, and the dialogue is clever and well structured. The cast is wonderfully warm and real in NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS. In the end, NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS leaves viewers feeling hopeful and positive.
The movie’s dominant metaphor is the old tree sitting outside the parents’ house. The tree is not much to look at, but it’s got a lot of heart and strength, and cannot be easily destroyed. That could be the same fate of the movie at the box office this December and January.
As usual, please consult our detailed CONTENT section above for the potential objections you may have in seeing this movie.
(BB, CC, Pa, FR, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, AA, D, M) Ultimately strong moral worldview about a Puerto Rican family reaffirming their family ties during Christmas with strong but brief positive Christian content that, however, could be more central to the story and the characters, marred by some pagan antinomianism or moral relativism that’s lax on language and off-color humor, plus three homosexual references mostly played for laughs but no homosexual characters and no endorsement or acceptance of homosexuality from the cast or movie as a whole; 33 obscenities (no “f” words, mostly the “s” word and the a-- word), six strong profanities, eight light profanities, and a few vulgar comments or jokes that help make movie PG-13; brief violence includes fighting in one scene and man threatens to shoot another man dead with a gun, plus car almost has a head-on collision with large truck and car plows into a parked car with man bumping his head; implied sex between married couple, a few lewd sexual comments played for laughs (including three humorous homosexual references, but no endorsement or acceptance), talk about a past marital infidelity, and mention that young woman’s male friend abandoned her when she gave birth to their son, who is now a young toddler; brief upper male nudity; alcohol use and light drunkenness; smoking; and, talk about possible divorce and man keeps a secret from his family.
NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS opens with Jesse Rodriguez, a wounded vet from Iraq, coming home during Christmas to visit his parents. His parents still live on the south side of Chicago in a Puerto Rican neighborhood. Also coming home to visit are older brother, Mauricio, a lawyer, and his career-oriented executive wife, Sarah. Finally, there’s the sister, Roxanna, a struggling actress working in Los Angeles. As the siblings face their own individual problems, their mother, Anna, suddenly announces she wants to get a divorce from her secretive husband, Eduardo. Anna thinks Eduardo’s seeing another woman for the second time in their marriage, so she’s taking action. Eduardo’s true secret brings the family news that’s more devastating, but it also helps bring them all together.
NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS is a heartwarming, lively and often humorous holiday treat. It’s one of the better-produced and acted holiday movies of its kind. The movie ends on a heartwarming, uplifting note, but there is too much foul language and some brief crude comedy with sexual content. Moviegoers should check out our full description of the movie’s content on our website at movieguide.org before going.