You know what? This (as movies like this go) could have been a lot worse. As a Christmas movie (the standards for which are very low, you’ll no doubt recall) this is entirely adequate. But they really missed their golden opportunity to call it a Christmas Tail. That’s something they can never get back.
The cast is actually very enjoyable. No one here is going to win an Oscar (prove me wrong, kids! Prove me wrong…) but none of them are bad, either. The leads have enough human charm to carry the irritatingly weak script. They even got a couple chuckles out of me over the course of the film’s runtime.
It doesn’t get too sappy, either. At all times it seems to remember it is a comedy film (although not the funniest, even in the field of Christmas movies), which goes a long way toward fending off a lot of common Christmas film pitfalls. It doesn’t get too churchy, too festive, even too bogged down with dog stuff (which could really drag down a movie about dogwalkers). I’m thinking of A Christmas Hero’s cringey fascination with airplanes, and what this movie would be like if its writer or director were that obsessed with dogs.
But Christmas stuff is always present. The festive but non-obtrusive score. The deep shots whose evening backgrounds are lit by fuzzy, colorful lights and ornaments.
You know, I don’t dislike this movie. I may watch it again someday. On a side monitor. While playing a video game on the other monitor. And drinking. But I’ll put it on.