A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this holiday movie is generally worry free. A puppy disobeys his father and ventures out on his own, where he gets into trouble and needs to be rescued. Several scenes occur in a dog pound where dogs are in cages and sometimes sad. The villainous dog catcher sneaks up on puppies and traps them, which provides a few moments of tension. At one point Santa Claus seems comatose, which might bother or confuse younger children.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Up at the North Pole Santa Claus and his buddy Santa Paws notice that the Christmas spirit icicle is melting. They attribute this not to climate change but to a lack of Christmas spirit in the world, where people have forgotten about the "unselfish spreading of love and kindness" and instead think only of themselves and material things. At the same time, young Puppy Paws is itching to get away from the North Pole to become a normal puppy. He escapes to the real world where he meets up with the familiar Golden Retriever pups who he hopes will help him become a regular dog. These efforts go badly. Simultaneously the cold-hearted dog catcher gathers stray dogs and eventually gets Santa Paws. In the end, the true spirit of Christmas wins out.
Is it any good?
Few people will argue that this story is predictable, formulaic, and lacking in any nuance; but hey, it's got puppies. To determine if the Buddies franchise is "good" depends partly on one's opinion of talking animals in movies. Some might find this a disturbingly unnatural quality in a movie that does little to make the characters feel relatable. Others might find a collection of fluffy, cute puppies irresistible and the fact that they speak even more appealing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Christmas spirit. What is Christmas spirit and why are the characters in this movie so concerned about it going away?
If you celebrate Christmas, what do you consider to be the most important part of the holiday? What kinds of activities do you do that help you stay in the Christmas spirit? What would Christmas be like without presents?
- In theaters: November 24, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: November 24, 2009
- Cast: Christopher Lloyd, Danny Woodburn, George Wendt
- Director: Robert Vince
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Holidays
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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