Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (USA 88 minutes)
Well now that oppress an indigenous peoples and infect them with smallpox so we can take all their crap day is over (which we celebrate by massacring turkeys, but I’m O.K. with that, because on the intelligence scale they sit somewhere between Sarah Palin and Chris Brown), it is time to celebrate buy a whole bunch of shit, for people we don’t really like all that much day. Oh and kill a whole bunch of pigs, or if you’re Jewish like me, chickens. Actually, Christmas is one of the few holidays Christians may have us beat. You are celebrating the virgin birth of a child. A child you believe grew up to be The Messiah, and the son of God. It’s kind of a tough act to follow. We Jews are celebrating the frugality of oil lasting for eight nights. You win that one, but you also have Lent where is takes you 6 weeks to atone for your sins. We just don’t eat for day and call it even.
But that isn’t what I want to talk about today. I am here to talk about Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups. You see in my house, part of our Merry Happy Chrismukkah celebration includes our entire family movie nights, from the Saturday after Thanksgiving until the Saturday before Christmas, being holiday related. Now, the movies are always picked by my (currently) eight year old son, and this is where the problem lays. You see as much as I love my son, when it comes to cinema, he has typical eight year old tastes. Basically, that means we usually end up watching films that are the cinematic equivalent of Chicken McNuggets. And this week’s film was no exception. It is a little cinematic enema called Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (coz there were so many unanswered questions in the first Santa Paws film).
Now I should say that my son, god bless him, loved it. The wife and I, not so much. First and foremost it has the single creepiest, child molestery looking Santa, this side of Billy Bob Thornton. The number one problem with Pat Finn’s Santa is his hair. To the best of my knowledge Santa DOES NOT have a Jheri Curl. I kept waiting for him to spray activator, or to be leaving huge oily stains everywhere.
The second problem with Santa is that I think he has Tourette’s or something. He has bizarre facial tics, or inappropriate expression throughout the entire film. I do not, however, fully blame this on bad acting. I mean if my career had reached the point that I was doing a direct to video Buddies movie, I too would be going heavy on the Crystal Meth and Colt 45.
Santa also seems to have gotten himself a new trophy wife (either that or the subtitle title of this film should be The Curious Case of Mrs. Claus). You see the Mary Poppins like Mrs. Claus in this film is played by Cheryl Ladd, though I guess that explains why Santa is so jolly. I’d be merry all the time too if I got to go down her chimney, or play naughty and nice list, on a regular basis.
Story wise the film is a hodgepodge of other movies, There is a heavy weight of Mary Poppins (so much so I was waiting for Mrs. Claus to run into her dear friend, a poor but lovable bloke with the world’s worst fake cockney accent), but they also steal from Santa Buddies, in the form of a mean dog catcher. This came as no surprise as half of the previous movie is cobbled together from fragments of Annie and Miracle on 34th Street. Here is to hoping that the third film is about Eli the elf getting caught in a 84 story high-rise that has been taken over by the international terrorists known as The Scrooge Gang, and helping the angel’s of Christmas earn their wings by getting a little boy the BB gun he wants for Christmas, all while singing delightful tunes such as “Ho Ho Ho Motherfucker” and “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, You Little Bastard”.
I should also mention that I find the main plot device (A boy wishes that the Christmas Spirit would go away) vaguely offensive. You see, kids live in a black and white world. There is no grey. People are either “The Good Guys” or “The Bad Guys”. In this film, lack of Christmas spirit equals being an asshole. By extrapolation this means:
A) All goodness is associated with the Christmas Spirit.
B) If you don’t celebrate Christmas (i.e. Jew, Muslim, Hindu etc.), you’re a dick.
As a matter of fact, it makes you so much of a douche that when a women (Mrs. Claus) shows up at your house, you assume she is the new Nanny without running a background check, and then just leave her alone with your kids while you go and sue the crap out of people.
A few other problems in this film are that it is difficult to discern what year it is supposed to be as it looks like anything from the 1890’s to the 1950’s at the director’s whim. They also spend the film telling the boy who wished away the Christmas spirit (Carter) that fixing it is not as easy as wishing is back, and yet at the film’s conclusion that is exactly what they do. I also found it odd that everyone was treating poor Carter like crap (including his little moppet of a sister whom we are meant to think is adorable simply because she is missing her front teeth) because he was sad that his mom died. I mean, in the context of the film it seemed like this was the first Christmas since her death, and everyone spent the entire film acting like they didn’t know what was wrong with him because, apparently, A tree with lights and sugar cookies trump dead mom.
All in all this was one of the many painful Robert Vince directed experiences that, out of love, I have endured for Family movie night. Many of them have involved talking dogs, skateboarding chimps, and racial/gender stereotypes (Treasure Buddies anyone?). Although I am Jewish my deepest Christmas wish is that my son outgrows these films before next fall’s release of Superbuddies. That is unless it is going feature Scarlett Johansson in skin-tight leather. Instead I’ll probably get Shannen Doherty in polyester.