Bad Movies Beware!
What better way to wrap the season than with a movie that dishes out the cute with all the grace of a Super Soaker filled with napalm?
And it sucks at doing even that.
As if Santa Paws wasn’t groan-inducing enough, here comes The Asylum’s Santa Claws like a high-speed glob of gelatinous rotten buffalo poo flung at the screen by an angry gorilla. I knew I was in for a ration of s**t the minute I saw The Asylum’s logo stain the screen like an unwiped tucous.
Now that the s**t imagery is fully implemented, let’s talk background. The Asylum is a small production company that does knock-offs of major blockbuster films. They are responsible for such underwear nuggets as Transmorphers (based on Transformers), Paranormal Entity (obviously off of Paranormal Activity), and Snakes on a Train (if you don’t get that one, you need to get out more). They also brought us the Megashark franchise.
Onwards with the annual Christmas family fun.
The film opens with Santa appearing in a house to drop off Christmas presents. He goes home to home, then finally settles in on a place that has cats for pets. He is allergic to cats and gets startled while delivering a 45 (that’s a small record to all you young bucks) and sneezes like crazy, falling backwards and breaking the record.
A young girl named Julia comes downstairs and finds him lying on the floor. Santa panics and zaps himself back to his sleigh, taking off as the boy next door, Marcus, takes his picture. Julia and Marcus nod to each other, and they both now know that Santa is real.
Fast forward 30 years…wait the hell up. Thirty years?! That would put these two kids in their 40’s!
Anywho, Julia now has a son named Tommy who is desperate to celebrate Christmas like all of the other kids. Julia forbids it, telling him that Christmas and Santa were invented by corporations to make money off of the general consumer.
What the hell? Okay, so we’re trying to make a political social statement about anti-consumerism?
They live in the house with four cats. Maisy, an orange tabby, is mother to three roly-poly mischievous kittens. They go by Hairball, Mittens, and Patches. These three live for trouble and are always finding ways to drive Julia insane.
Marcus and Julia still live in the same houses they lived in thirty years ago, though it is never explained why or what happened to the parents. So, I guess I’m just to assume that I watched two completely self-sufficient kids grow up alone in these houses and one of them procreated at some point.
Either that or Tommy came via UPS.
Marcus is now the creepy guy next door who over-decorates for Christmas in hopes that Santa will reappear to him after all these years. Marcus and Julia have a tense relationship, and he spends a fair amount of time complaining about the kittens tromping through his yard whenever they get out.
That night, Tommy and Julia have an argument when Julia discovers that Tommy has purchased a small table-top Christmas tree for his room. She confiscates the tree but can’t bring herself to toss it.
Meanwhile, the kittens fret over the fact that Julia is about to put them up for adoption. While they brainstorm a way to stay with their mother, Tommy comes out with a box and packs them up with a note to Santa. He figures that giving them to Santa would be better than letting them get adopted by another family.
Santa shows up and takes the box up the chimney with him. He opens the box and sneezes himself off the top of the house, knocking himself out. The reindeer and sleigh GPS system (yes, it has GPS) convince the kittens that it’s up to them to deliver the presents since Santa is incapacitated.
What the…how many movies are they going to knock off here?!
While the kittens take off in the sleigh, Tommy comes out and finds Santa sprawled out in the back yard. He gets Santa into the house while Marcus devises a plan to get the cats and attract Santa to his place for proof of existence.
The kittens go house to house, stopping off and encountering problems at every turn. One place is home to a psychotic little girl who may, or may not, have pigtails and a slight need of prescription lithium. She almost has them trapped, but they manage to escape and continue delivering presents around the world.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Santa tells Tommy that he needs to get going. Julia hears Santa and comes downstairs to ward him off because she thinks he’s an intruder. Santa convinces her that he’s the real deal by performing different magic tricks until she finally believes.
Shot of the exterior of the house, then back to the scene as Tommy explains that the kittens have the sleigh. Santa trips out, saying that we are looking at a “Cat-tastrophe” (not kidding). Shot of the exterior of the house, then back to the hallway where Santa tells Tommy and Julia that he needs “brain food.”
Tommy and Julia give Santa some cookies, but Santa is allergic to peanuts and goes into anaphylactic shock. Julia happens to keep an epi-pen in the first aid kit and sticks Santa to save him from suffocating.
WHAT THE F**K? Why on God’s green earth do we have to see constant random shots of the outside of the house IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCENE?!
Cut to the kittens, who are lost on a snowy plain made of bed sheets and fake snow. The reindeer have abandoned them for no reason whatsoever, and they are trapped with no way to get home. Marcus hacks into the Santa Network and tells them that he will activate the onboard rockets to get them home, but they have to steer.
Dear God. It has rockets.
Long story short, the kittens make it back in the nick of time, and Santa is reunited with the reindeer while Marcus and Julia reconcile. Marcus agrees to keep the kittens so that Maisy can come by and visit any time she wants. All is well and Santa returns to the North Pole.
The glorious end.
VERDICT: ETERNAL PAIN.
Ah, Christmas. Cute kittens with zero personality and a cheeseburger fetish.
This movie is a disaster from the opening credits on. It’s sad that I can actually say that the Buddies film Santa Paws was a much higher quality film than this pile of rhino dung.
I usually like to start with the acting because, frankly, it’s an easy target. The acting is horrendous, even by the standards set by this genre of movie. The voice work is a laminable mess, made worse by the improvisation the actors have to do because the animals in this film were NOT trained.
The CGI in the film is cheap with the mouths and snouts on the cats often staying static while the rest of the cat’s face moves around in the shot. The one shot of the reindeer pulling the sleigh looks like a cinematic off of an old video game.
Santa Claus, as a character, is a train-wreck of a human being. He is allergic to everything under the sun and panics at the drop of a hat, often screaming like an ugly old woman when things get hairy. Apparently he missed his Xanax pills before leaving the North Pole and is having a very unmedicated Christmas.
The Asylum steps outside of their norm with this family-friendly flick, but ends up just creating a dog turd steaming in the yard instead. It’s bad enough that the movie even attempts the level of cute that Buddies conveys, but failing miserably at it just makes things ten times worse. Combine it all with the slackass production value, and you have a large warm donkey log for the fire.