Saving Dogs for Christmas
With Pittsburgh struggling in the depression Emma O'Conner (Jordan-Claire Green) is sent by her father to live with her aunt. But she arrives on the same day that the town's mayor (Richard Riehle) hires his brother, a dogcatcher (John Billingsley), to round up and get rid of all the dogs in town. Being a dog lover Emma helps one little hound escape the clutches of the dogcatcher and finds she isn't alone as there are other dog lovers in the town. With the help of some new friends and a few dogs Emma sets about changing people's opinions of the people of Doverville in order to save all the dogs.
A family adventure in the tradition of Disney is the simplest way to explain "The 12 Dogs of Christmas" which sees Emma sent to live with her not overly welcoming aunt but ending up becoming a friend to many thanks to her hard working, honest nature. As in some of Disney's classic family movies we have those who are evil which in this case is the mayor and his dogcatcher brother who are trying to get rid of all the dogs, There are scenes which feature the dogcatcher hanging from his vehicle which are extremely reminiscent of the bad guys in various Disney animations. And I expect for those parents seeking something fun, innocent and uncomplicated to watch as a family will find this entertaining.
But it is very much a movie made for that audience and for those who don't fit in to that category and find themselves watching might find it a little weak. It has all the parts from old clothing to a bit of action, various dogs and a mix of pleasant and quirky characters but everything seems to have been put together in the most routine manner which means that despite having plenty of good intentions as well as some charm it doesn't quite deliver the emotion or touching nature to make it come to life.
What this all boils down to is that "The 12 Dogs of Christmas" is very much a family movie and as such it works. But it is certainly no masterpiece and in the end feels a little too routine and by the book to be memorable.