Bad Movies Beware!
A) I do actually like some family movies. Gameplan was excellent, and I am actually trying to find Ramona and Beezus because I grew up on those books(I like Ramona more than Junie B. Jones).
B) I am not above bashing a family flick if it is downright bad, though I do draw the line at slinging vulgarities at movies with precious little girls suffering abuse from a hateful nanny while keeping their belief that something better is out there for them.
That being said, this movie was a constant reminder that Disney still has the power to force “cute” on us with all of the grace of a hyper-active serial killer wielding a blood-soaked chainsaw while in the throws of ‘Roid Rage.
Keep in mind, also, that this is a prequel to Christmas Buddies, hence it is a “Buddies” movie. Right. Talking puppies.
Quinn is a young girl of about four who is sent to an orphanage to live under the care of Ms. Stout. As it turns out, Ms. Stout is absolutely despicable to the point of pure evil, and abuses the girls verbally and emotionally. Meanwhile, at the North Pole, Santa, Mrs. Claus and Eli the Elf celebrate Santa’s birthday along with all the other elves. Eli gives Santa a plush dog. They go to a massive ice cavern, and Eli gives the pup a magic crystal like the one around Santa and Mrs. Claus’s necks. The pup comes to life, and Santa names him Paws.
Cue montage of cute (hang on, I just threw up a little in my mouth). Santa grieves at the death of Mr. Hucklebuckle, a toy shop owner who sold only classic toys that required imagination and who’s only purpose was to keep the Christmas spirit alive by being an ambassador for the Santa Cause. Hucklebuckle is survived by his grandson James and James’s wife Kate. James and Kate have shortened the name to Huckle, embarrassed by Grampy’s lack of “real-world” business knowledge and the fact that the toy store only generated $0.01 profit annually. The stipulation of the Will: They have to open it and run the place for one Christmas season.
Santa and Paws travel to New York to find a new ambassador for the Santa Cause, but when Paws runs out into traffic to save a stranger’s hat Santa saves his life and is hit by a car in the process.
Yes. A movie aimed at very small children shows Santa get slammed into by the side of a taxi.
A bum robs Santa of his magic crystal and tote bag, and Santa is left alive but with no memory. Paws takes off to find help, but gets lost in the city.
Back at the orphanage, we find Ms. Stout burning toys she has confiscated from the girls in the incinerator. Wilhelmina, played by Madison Pettis, is the oldest girl there and has lost hope. She cares for the girls as sisters, being particularly partial to Quinn. Quinn awakens one night and finds Paws in the ally and brings him in only to be busted by Will. The girls take Paws upstairs and break out into song while the pup tries to convince Will to believe. By this time, the musical numbers begin to go back to back.
Santa, who has been working as “Bud” playing the role of Santa at Hucklebuckle toys, has fallen ill and is rushed to the hospital. Paws, Will, Quinn, the Huckles, Eli, and the now friendly bum Gus rush to Santa’s aid and return his crystal to him. Paws gives Santa his crystal as well, ending up paying the ultimate sacrifice as Santa resurrects and Paws is turned back into a toy. Santa rushes him back to the North Pole and takes him to the life crystal, but the cyrstal’s power is spread thin due to the holiday season. A tear from Santa revives Paws, who is transformed into an adult dog and renamed “Santa Paws.”
The Huckles return Will and Quinn to the orphanage, where DSS has toppled Ms. Stout and ousted her, freeing the girls. They make the choice to adopt both Quinn and Will, and apparently adopting a child in this movie is as easy as picking out a puppy at the pet store.
Santa and Paws make a return visit and thank the Huckles, who have changed their names back to Hucklebuckle and have decided to keep the store. Gus becomes a surrogate Dad for the girls at the orphanage and a helper to their new Nanny who is the lady from DSS. Everyone is okay, happy ending.
Everyone all together now:
As much as Disney wants to inject Feel-good movie into my spine, at the end of the day it’s a friggin’ Buddies movie. Yes, I understand the age group it is aimed at, but even my seven-year-old daughter said Buddies movies are WAY too sappy.
Madison Pettis is super-talented, and her performance along with Mill Cobbs and Katherine Kirkpatrick are about the only thing in the movie not over-doing the warm hugs that the writers loaded into the rail gun of an Apache chopper and unloaded onto audiences.
The sweetness of this movie does not warm your heart, it grabs you by the groin and holds you down while it forces its way into your body like an alien parasite that will later erupt from your chest during your spaghetti dinner and soak your family in blood as it scurries off only to later kill them off one by one until you man up and blow it out of the airlock. It wasn’t as bad as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but I found myself in dire need of some mindless violence, blood and gore after I got done watching it.
REALITY CHECK: I like dogs, but I’m skittish, man. A dog starts talking to me and I’m hauling a** out of there. No “Oooo, it talks! I DO believe in Christmas!” More like: “Oh, S**T! A talking dog! AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!“
I would rather be beaten over the head with a Belkie Bear than watch this movie again. I understand Sappy Cinema, but Buddies movies are just too much.