I do not watch many children’s films because I am not a parent. When I do, I prefer them to be like this one, without any cursing, double entendres, or a bunch of pop culture references. This film succeeds on all counts. The only thing I would make sure to make clear to children is not to feed dogs candy or cookies. Most importantly it features adorable puppies and a Christmas story.
It’s your basic “We need to save Christmas story” but with a twist, told from the perspective of puppies. The protagonist is Puppy Paws, soon-to-be successor to his father Santa Paws. Santa Paws is Santa’s (George Wendt) right-hand dog. Puppy Paws is bored with North Pole life and decides to see how normal puppies live.
These “normal puppies” are the infamous Buddies. I’ve only seen one other of these series of films (so far), the not as good but still adorable Space Buddies. However, if you’ve never seen any of them you still get a brief introduction to the characters. They are Budderball (likes to eat), Mudbud (likes to get dirty), B-Dawg (enjoys rap and dancing), and Rosebud (fashionista). Human co-stars include Christopher Lloyd as the evil dog catcher and Danny Woodburn (Seinfeld) as an Elf.
Puppy Paws tries to fit in and make friends but stirs up trouble. Of course, Puppy Paws learns that the true meaning of Christmas isn’t about toys. I smiled a lot and even laughed out loud at some of the puppies’ antics.
Many movies tend to drag in the middle, including the aforementioned Space Buddies but this one was pretty entertaining all the way through. I could be nitpicky and mention that the film didn’t include enough reindeer screen time and that I’m not sure of Wendt as Santa. Why complain about an awesome holiday movie though? The film clocks in at 88 minutes so if it isn’t your thing, you won’t be bored for too long.
Note: This review originally appeared on the Yahoo Contributor Network on November 5, 2009.