This engaging kid-eye view of “the real winter miracle” is good family fun. It has something for both littler and bigger kids and is very endurable for parents.
The theme of the movie is that “anything can happen on a snowday,” and it does a good job of evoking the magic of waking up to find the world soft, white, and new, and all normal rules and obligations suspended.
One snowday in particular changes the lives of all five members of the Brandston family. The father (Chevy Chase) is a TV weatherman who is humiliated because he has to dress in silly outfits to try to get better ratings than his handsome but unethical rival. The mother (Jean Smart) loves her family, but is preoccupied with an important project at work. Teenage son Hal is in love with the most beautiful girl in school. His sister Nat has a dream — defeating the enemy of the snow day, Snowplow Man (Chris Elliot), so the kids can stay home an extra day. And their little brother Randy just wants to have some fun with his mom.
One nice thing about the movie is that it shows us a believably harried but genuinely kind and loving family. Nat and Hal have a real sense of commitment and teamwork and the mother may be caught up in her big project, but it is clear that she loves her family very much. And it is very nice to see Chevy Chase in a more low-key and genuine role.
Another nice thing is that it shows us that sometimes what we think we want isn’t what we want after all, and that something better might be right in front of us.
Parents should know that there is some potty humor and some mild schoolyard language. Kids do some unwise and even dangerous things, like confronting an adult, pelting the principal with snowballs, rigging a show shelter with electricity, and driving a snowplow. But it is clear that the movie is a fantasy, and it can give families a good opportunity to talk about taking risks and setting priorities — and about what kind of music is best for ice skating and what kinds of snowballs are the best for a snowball fight!