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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2004), PG-13 [R-13*]
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
October 21, 2004
50 out of 100

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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), PG-13 [R-13*] ... with endearing qualities. But it is R-13.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): DreamWorks SKG, Tall Trees Productions, LivePlanet
Distribution (US): DreamWorks Distribution LLC
Director(s): Mike Mitchell
Producer(s): Betty Thomas, Jenno Topping, Patricia Whitcher
Story: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont
Screenplay: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Jeffrey Ventimilia, Joshua Sternin
Cinematography/Camera: Peter Lyons Collister, Tom Priestley Jr.
Music: Randy Edelman
Film Editing: Craig McKay, Dana E. Glauberman
Production Design: Caroline Hanania
Art Direction: Sue Chan
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Chicago advertising executive Drew Latham (Ben Affleck), who felt he could sell whale steaks to Greenpeace, found himself doomed to another Christmas alone after his very vain and selfish girlfriend, Missy Vangilder (Jennifer Morrison) dumped him because he wanted to go on a cohabitative trip with her instead of spend Christmas with family. It is the family season after all. Missy knew nothing of Drew's family, maybe as a protective measure by Drew. His father left him when he was four and his mother, who died when Drew was in college, was a coffee house waitress. Again Hollywood portrays the waitress as "low-life."

To set the mood, the writers presented several episodes of sadness and desperation to describe the Christmas season Drew was feeling. One of the episodes was of a grandmother sticking her head in the oven to commit suicide. Wonderful show it is, dontcha know. And it doesn't get much better except in a few ways.

After having exhausted his list of contacts and friends as potential Christmas mates, Drew ran into Missy's psychologist at the airport on his way with family to meet with more family. After the doctor finally convinced Drew he could not spend Christmas with him and his family, the doctor told drew to write down all his grievances against his family, take the list to a childhood memory location and burn the list while saying "I forgive you." Drew did exactly that.

Arriving with his list at his boyhood house in Lincoln Wood, Illinois, Drew burned the list just in front of the front door. Tom Valco (the unmistakable James Gandolfini), the home owner, perceived Drew's pyro act as an attempt at vandalism and knocked him out with a snow shovel.

After regaining consciousness after being drug inside the house, Drew laid his plans on the Valco family: Tom, Christine (Catherine O'Hara, acting the same as in) and, of course, sex-crazed teenage son Bryan (Josh Zuckerman). Drew's plans were to spend the Christmas holiday with them if they pretended to be his family. A "rent-a-family" fee of $250,000 was what convinced the Valco's to accept Drew's offer.

From there, all stops are pulled. In fear of breech of contract, the Valco family played along with Drew's desperation for company during Christmas. But from here it is difficult to give you a plot summary since the projectionists got two of the reels out of order for this screening. Though the order may not have been correct, it doesn't matter regarding the content of each reel.

In several ways, this comedy romance sparkles and is warm, of even and comfortable flow with endearing qualities. But it is R-13.

At what appeared to be near the end of the show the writers presented Drew gazing out his high rise apartment window at other tenants, witnessing several families having joyous cheer and yule tidings. One of the scenes of marriage warmth was of an apron-clad, bowl-stirring spouse planting a light kiss one the cheek of his husband. Read it again if it is confusing.

In a couple other scenes, the mother is portrayed as being the subject of a porn shoot ... and the teen son sees the pictures on the Internet. Fortunately, we do not see any gender-specific parts. While Sexual Immorality (I) found programming to earn one of the lowest of the six investigation area (W, I, S, D, O, M) scores [Eph. 5:5], there is (atypically) no intercourse in this PG-13 and no one gets in bed with anyone else. However, there is enough profanity (without the most foul of the foul words) in this film to earn a score of one out of 100 in Impudence/Hate. [Prov. 22:11] There is also enough use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive to erase nearly all of the starting 100 points in Offense to God (O). [Deut. 5:11] This film earned a final CAP score of 50 which places it four points into the scoring range earned by R-rated movies (54 and below out of 100) in the comparative baseline database, making it equivalent to a "lite" R but a R nonetheless.

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal all that was noted.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Eph. 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No [unforgiven] immoral, impure or greedy person -such a man is an idolater -has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    Surviving Christmas (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • grandmother attempting suicide
  • adult tantrum
  • assault with shovel
  • slapstick violence
  • recklessness with own safety

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 13 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary by adults and twice by a teen
  • adolescent arrogance to parents
  • lies, repeatedly
  • daughter's insult of father
  • deceit, repeatedly

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • teen on Internet porn site, repeatedly
  • implication of masturbation
  • teen drawing a porn image on car window condensation
  • pictures clearly of lustful nature in teen's room
  • crotch hit
  • anatomical reference
  • excessive cleavage, repeatedly
  • old man encouraging teen boy to browse Internet porn
  • "gay" kiss
  • open mouth kissing, twice
  • mother in porn shoot then being seen by son on the Internet

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • promoting drinking of alcohol to increase sales
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking pot

    Offense to God (O)
  • 20 uses of God's name in vain but all without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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