Holiday heaches? Reel remedies!

A little break is just what we all need come the holiday season. Be it a chance to sit down and relax after running around in preparation for a holiday dinner, or the opportunity to mentally chill out after over indulging in good conversation, a little break can be restorative. I find when I’m craving a time out, I love popping a family movie into my DVD player. Disney cartoons, family comedies, or tween adventures all do the trick. In anticipation of the hectic holidays, here are two fun family-friendly flicks that I guarantee will provide that much-needed escape.

Many of us will be old enough to remember watching the original Karate Kid when it first appeared in theatres in 1984. Pat Morita played the iconic Mr. Miyagi and the expression “wax on, wax off” joined other famous Hollywood phrases in the pop culture lexicon. With a slew of remakes being churned out of Tinseltown, I wasn’t sure what I would think of the 2010 edition starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. As it turns out, I loved it! Even clocking in at over two hours, I never felt like I was checking my watch. Smith and Chan are a great duo. They both have impeccable comedic timing and enough skill to pull off the necessary dramatic elements that make this film so charming. There are a few moments of cheese that’ll have most grown-ups rolling their eyes, but nothing is so over the top as to induce a full-on facepalm. Supporting actress Taraji Henson, who plays Smith’s mom, is lovely and energetic. The movie is completely feel-good—you’ll be rooting for Smith (once he gets over his saucy attitude which he so clearly inherited from his dad!).

Another great family movie to recently hit the rental shelves is Dreamworks’ latest, How to Train Your Dragon. Upcoming Canadian actor Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler and America Ferrera all lent their voices to this hilarious animated adventure. Baruchel is Hiccup, a hapless young Viking who, as son of the village chief (Butler), is destined to become a great dragon slayer like his father. Unfortunately, Hiccup is more interested in tinkering with his latest invention than he is in hoisting a war hammer. After managing to almost destroy his entire village in a dragon attack, Hiccup befriends an injured dragon and learns there’s more to the beasts than meets the eye. I haven’t always been a fan of Dreamworks’ features, but this movie hit all the high notes for me: a clever story, great dialogue with witty one-liners, a little bit of romantic tension, a tough female lead and an unlikely friendship that saves the day. I would recommend How to Train Your Dragon for kids of all ages!

Both of these family-friendly films are out on video, so there’s no need to bundle up the family and head to the theatre. Rent one on your way home after a tough day at the office or a long day in the kitchen. I guarantee these little movie breaks will get you up and running just in time for your next big holiday event.

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