Candy Cane Lane

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Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (violence, language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Candy Cane Lane
  • a review of Candy Cane Lane completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 December 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to violence and language.
Children aged 8–10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and language.
Children aged 11 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Candy Cane Lane
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language, mild violence (OC)
Length: 120 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Chris (Eddie Murphy) and Carol Carver (Tracee Ellis Ross) live on Candy Cane Lane with their three children – track star Joy (Gennaya Walton), musician Nick (Thaddeus J. Mixon) and little Holly (Madison Thomas). Every year their street goes all out to decorate for Christmas, prizes are awarded and Chris’s neighbour Bruce (Ken Marino) always seems to win. But this year is special and Chris is determined that this year will be different. Joy is about to leave for college and Chris feels like this is their last family Christmas, so he wants it to be perfect. When a cable channel decides to broadcast the Candy Cane Lane street competition, they offer a $100,000 prize to the winning home and Chris is eager that it will be his. Their yard is full of intricate, hand-crafted, Christmas ornaments that are constantly overlooked, so Chris and Holly set out to see what additional decorations they can find. They stumble across a mysterious shop under a highway overpass and find everything they could possibly hope for, including a massive 12-days-of-Christmas tree along with a magical partridge that sits on top and is capable of granting a wish. The shop is run by a disgruntled elf named Pepper (Jillian Bell) who, at first, appears helpful and jolly but soon shows her true colours. Pepper can’t stand or forgive mistakes and, after working with Santa whom she feels was far too forgiving, has made it her purpose to punish everyone and put them on the naughty list by giving them a challenge they cannot possibly accomplish, and then trapping them as figurines destined to live out the remainder of their lives in her Christmas themed shop. Chris soon discovers that he will turn into one of the figurines if he does not find five golden rings and have them in his hand by the time a clock strikes 8 on Christmas Eve. Chris must find the rings, protect his family and help those previously cursed by Pepper, while trying to win the Candy Cane Lane competition – but he will not have to do it alone and it could just be that help will come from the most unlikely places.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Power and Control; Punishing others; Entitlement; Winning at all costs.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Geese attack Carol at her work, shooting eggs at her from the sky and consistently pelting her with eggs as she makes a dash for the factory.
  • Carol grabs a chicken out of a box by the neck and throws it at a piece of machinery. It hits hard, feathers flying everywhere, and then lands in a box below.
  • Small characters get steamrolled by a huge ream of paper.
  • One character gets electrocuted and falls off a ladder.
  • People splitting up are mentioned in the context of horror films and how, “black people are always the first to die”.
  • A milkmaid blasts Nick with milk. The powerful spray from the cow throws him back against a wall. She continues to spray the milk, flooding the entire room.
  • A man purposefully makes Joy run into him and knocks her backwards.
  • A javelin is thrown at Chris.
  • Carol throws her coffee mug at a character and Chris trips the same character with a javelin.
  • Chris must fight off 12 armed lords who are all brandishing javelins.
  • Pepper kicks Santa and releases flocks of birds and geese, all of whom set about attacking people.
  • There are multiple times where Chris or his family are threatened or receive disturbing phone calls.
  • Geese pelt people and cars with eggs while they fly.
  • A goose bites a man on the bottom.
  • A huge chicken tries to attack Chris when he is the size of a figurine.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Pepper looks creepy and sinister as she sneaks around in Chris and Carol’s shed, with a flashlight, looking for the people she has cursed. Her face is transformed by the upturned light of her torch, and she looks a little unhinged. The fear of the people hiding from her, coupled with her disturbing appearance, may unsettle some young children.
  • Holly is devastated at seeing her father transformed into a small figurine. The whole family is in shock and disbelief and, while the scene is not scary, it feels like Chris is saying goodbye and it may be upsetting to some children, especially in relation to Holly’s reaction.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • Nothing further noted.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Barbie is mentioned and a Playhouse with a waterslide is shown, though the logo for Barbie is not.
  • Vouchers for an Applebee’s lunch are used as a prize, as are Blackberry devices and Dove.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • One character tells another, “You’ve got a thing for blow up dolls”. The character then replies, “We are a family that blows”, before the meaning of the first comment dawns on him.
  • A character flirts with Carol saying, “Look at you hot stuff”. Chris intervenes, saying that Carol is his wife. The man continues to flirt and is eventually found in their bedroom, watching Carol and Chris kiss.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Carol and Chris kiss.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Adults drink wine at a Christmas party.
  • A box of wine is offered as a gift on a couple of occasions.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Screwed
  • Crap
  • Kick some ass
  • Jesus Christ!
  • What the f---- ah, la, la, la la
  • Suckers
  • Hell
  • Ass
  • Idiot
  • Shut it!
  • Are you elfin kidding me?!

In a nutshell

Candy Cane Lane is a Christmas adventure about the importance of family, helping others and getting through difficult times together. The plot is predictable but the film is well cast. Best suited to children aged 11 and up, or families looking for something to watch together with older children.

The main messages from this movie are that Christmas is not about money or presents or winning, it is about giving and sharing and getting through things together and, above all, it is about the importance of family and loving those around you.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork
  • Loyalty
  • Helpfulness
  • Creativity
  • Love.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Punishing or cursing others when you are in no position to judge.
  • Lying or deceiving those you love.
  • Putting all your focus into winning and doing everything yourself, regardless of how your family might feel.
  • Trying to control the lives of others instead of working on improving yourself.