A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Santa Paws 2 is the sequel to The Search for Santa Paws and the latest installment in the popular direct-to-DVD Buddies franchise. There's nothing inappropriate, but there is a sad subplot about a widower and his two motherless kids who are having a hard time dealing with Christmas. The Santa pups and young characters learn the real meaning of Christmas isn't stuff but a spirit of service and love.
What's the story?
There's a new litter of puppies at the North Pole: Hope, Jingle, Charity, and Noble. The mischievous new "Santa pups" are desperate to prove they're ready to be full-time Santa's helpers, so they stow away on Mrs. Claus' (Cheryl Ladd) sled as she travels to the small town of Pineville to spread the spirit of Christmas. As Mrs. Claus gets to know a melancholy widower (George Newbern) and his young son Carter (Josh Feldman) and daughter Sarah (Kaitlyn Maher), the pups -- with the help of a magical crystal -- start granting wishes. The problem is that one wish is to end Christmas celebrations altogether, which once granted threatens to ruin the holiday for everyone.
Is it any good?
Although the musical numbers in this holiday special aren't all that memorable (not sure a song about a "Christmas Cold" is all that appealing to anyone), the pups are certainly adorable. And the characters are such sweet underdogs it's hard for even the frostiest, anti-talking-animals viewer to resist the cuteness. But yes, those who aren't amused by the sub-genre of chattering pets will have a harder time warming up to the storyline than those who fully embrace the doggy protagonists.
Former Charlie's Angels star Ladd is so distractingly beautiful, there's never been such a gorgeous Mrs. Claus. Newbern's Mr. Reynolds and his kids provide an emotional depth to the story to balance out the cutesy pups. By the time order is restored and Christmas can be properly celebrated, it's clear that the messages here are in keeping with the best of (secular) season's greetings -- that Christmas is a time for family togetherness, kindness to strangers, and generosity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the spirit of Christmas. What do you and your family consider the meaning of the season -- is it religious or more about family and generosity?
Why are movies about talking animals so irresistible? How do these adorable puppies compare to talking animals in other movies?
With so many puppies and buddies movies already released, do you think the franchise is still worth expanding?
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