A Californian Canine Christmas

Gary Valentine and Elisa Donovan in The Dog Who Saved the Holidays (2012)

The Bannisters are going to California for Christmas to spend it with Aunt Barbara (Shelley Long) who is currently in a battle with neighbour Ned (Michael Gross) over who has the best Christmas decorations. But things are a bit uneasy for the Bannisters as Belinda (Elisa Donovan) is pregnant and is beginning to suspect that George (Gary Valentine) has another woman as he is acting suspicious. Things are not good for Zeus, the family dog, either as Aunt Barbara has given them a puppy, Eve, for Christmas who keeps on getting him in to trouble. But it isn't just the Bannisters who are in California as burglars Stewey (Joey Diaz) and Ted (Dean Cain) have set up a mobile dog grooming business except they owe a local loan shark a lot of money and now have to steal a diamond covered Christmas tree decoration which happens to be in Barbara's house.

So let me start with the obvious and that is once again "The Dog Who Saved the Holidays", the fourth movie in this movie series, is aimed at a young audience who will laugh at the sort of corny, slapstick humour which not only feels like it is a doing a poor job of ripping off "Home Alone" but also make grown ups groan. As such if you are expecting fun for grown ups when you watch "The Dog Who Saved the Holidays" then you are likely going to be seriously disappointed.

The Dog Who Saved the Holidays (2012)

Now here is the surprising thing about "The Dog Who Saved the Holidays", it is actually an improvement on the first two movies with a lot more going on. As such pretty much ever character in this movie, other than the Bannister children, have a part to play. From a battle of the Christmas bulbs to the bungling burglars as well as Zeus dealing with his playful and troublemaking little sister there is always something fun going on and yes this fourth movie is fun although admittedly still plenty daft as well, even resorting to plastic nose gags.

The thing about "The Dog Who Saved the Holidays" is that it still has that annoying cheap feel with close ups which make it feel like the production team didn't have time to decorate rooms or were filming scenes between two actors but with only one of them there. And it certainly has the feel about it which makes you wonder whether it was filmed during summer rather than winter. But what it does have is the combination of Joey Lawrence and Peyton List as the inner voices of Zeus and Eve and they bring plenty of playfulness to the dialogue which makes these inner dog thoughts more entertaining than in the earlier movies.

What this all boils down to is that I was pleasantly surprised by "The Dog Who Saved the Holidays" as it was definitely an improvement on the first two movies with a lot more going on and a lot more comedy even if some of it was even dafter.

Tags: TV Christmas Movies, Dog Movies, Christmas Movies

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