Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Very Disney Christmas: "The Search for Santa Paws"

"Useless pandering song!"

More Found Than Search

      The Search for Santa Paws is a 2010 Direct-to-DVD Disney film that serves as a prequel to Santa Buddies. The film is again directed by Robert Vince and written by him as well, along with fellow writer Anna McRoberts... again. In the prequel, Santa (Richard Riehle) who receives a pet dog, Paws (Zachary Gordon) from his friend, right before his friend dies. When Santa and Paws travel to New York City to pay their respects, Santa get amnesia and Paws gets lost. As Paws discovers two girls, Will (Madison Pettis) and Quinn (Kaitlyn Maher) who live in a orphanage run by the mean Ms. Stout (Wendi McLendon-Covey). Because of course they do. As for Santa, he meets up with the Huckle couple (John Ducey and Bonnie Somerville) and becomes the store Santa for them. But when Santa begins to die because he's lost his Christmas magic, it's up to Paws and returning Eli (Danny Woodburn) and Eddy (Richard Kind) to find Santa. So, really, this isn't really a search for Paws, so, why the title again?

The girl on the right knows it's B.S.
Two Types of Dumb

      The key to understanding Santa Paws is knowing the differences between the two types of stupid, at least when it comes to movies. There's idiotic and then there's dumb. Santa Paws is idiotic, but not dumb. Mostly. Dumb, for me, refers to more emotional stuff. The jokes are lame, the story makes contrived turns and the characters all act goofy. This movie doesn't do that. Again, mostly. But idiotic, again for me, means more structurally stupid. There are plot holes, character problems and story issues. This movie has a lot of those. Santa Paws literally takes almost every cliche for other children's story and puts it in here. There are more annoying songs than in Santa Buddies. There's one where the orphans sings about Christmas hope. Where orphans sing about Christmas hope. Santa gets amnesia, which you can probably guess the second he walks into New York. A magic tear brings a character to life. The mean orphan... keeper, I guess, never gets a backstory, so she's just a bully for bully's sake. The movie packs in some serious amounts of stupid.

The Real Santa Claus

      And that's kinda the film's saving grace. I did actually enjoy watching this movie. Granted, it was to make fun of it, but hey, at least it kept my attention. And it all goes back to the fact that the worst movies to watch are the ones that aren't particularly good or bad, but rather in the middle. Santa Buddies feel in that middle and it was really hard to get through. And yet, it's technically a better movie that this one. And yet I had more fun with this one. Although, the fact that this film is better equipped with Christmas spirit doesn't hurt. The film is totally festive and got me right in the spirit. And I will say this. Riehle makes a great Santa Claus. He truly seem kind and caring and I do truly get the feeling like his Sanat really did love Christmas and had a true joy for what he does. He honestly cares for the things he loves and when something goes wrong it does actually hurt him. He's simply great. And, if I did have one complaint, the film does focus on him and the orphans then it does Paws, which seeing as how I liked Santa, I was fine with. But it is a little disappointing that they character that the movie is named after gets some of the least screentime.

Aww, it so cute I could punch a kitten.
The Verdict

      The Search for Santa Paws is a stupid, stupid movie. It's got an incredibly cliched plot, stupid characters and the "main character" is at times completely forgotten about. But, it does capture the Christmas season well, this Santa is a truly great one and, for as idiotic as it is, I did enjoy watching it. And I do think kids would enjoy watching this one more than Santa Buddies as well. The Search for Santa Paws gets 4 stars out of 6.

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