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Case Number 20394: Small Claims Court

Buy Samantha: An American Girl Holiday at Amazon

Samantha: An American Girl Holiday

Warner Bros. // 2004 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 24th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson's American Girl collection is getting much too large to contain.

The Charge

Live Samantha's movie adventure.

The Case

I can appreciate American Girl. The dolls, I mean. Whatever you might think of the accompanying fiction, at least the company isn't churning out slut-in-training playthings like the Bratz. And as the new father of a young girl, these kinds of things have popped up on my radar.

An American Girl Holiday tells the story of Samantha Parkington (apparently one of the company's biggest sellers), who's being raised by her uptight and sort of stuffy grandmother in the countryside. When the new servant family shows up, Samantha immediately befriends Nellie O'Malley. But Nellie is later shipped off to an orphanage in the city and Samantha seizes the opportunity to track down her BFF, spring her and her sisters from the clutches of the facility, and maybe…just maybe…bring everyone together for massive Christmas celebration highlighted by gifts, roast turkey legs, and adoptions galore!

It's fairly old (aired on television in 2004), but An American Girl Holiday is an inoffensive, emotionally serviceable period yarn that should fit in nicely with the kids' Christmas viewing schedule. And, as an added bonus, there are some Very Important Lessons about a Very Important Issue: women's suffrage. It's a film that is simultaneously conservative and progressive. In the end, isn't that what the Yuletide season all about, bringing together people of all stripes and ideologies?

The friendship between Samantha and Nellie drives the melodrama. While at times it can be corny (thanks to a syrupy script and some earnest, but amateur acting), when the inevitable conclusion-that-you-can-see-coming-within-the-first-ten-minutes-of-runtime hits, the sentimental payoff is nice. Unless your heart pumps liquid nitrogen, warm and fuzzies should abound.

Not much else to relay here. Samantha and her pals provide accessible, low-impact family fare, executed nicely enough and steeped in period production values. You can do a lot worse with your Yule-log.

The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, featurettes on the Samantha mythology, women's suffrage, and a video wedding announcement for Samantha's aunt and uncle.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. Merry Christmas and @#$% the Bratz!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Christmas
• Drama
• Family
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurettes


• IMDb

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