The Dog Who Saved the Holidays

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
The Dog Who Saved the Holidays Movie Poster Image
Bawdy Christmas romp drags; heavy on flatulence.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 87 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Some exposure to holiday rituals, pet care, and sibling rivalry.

Positive Messages

Offers positive messages about family time, getting along, and teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are fairly simple and even stereotypical in some cases: the hormonal pregnant wife, the insensitive husband, the batty aunt, the tough-guy mobster.

Violence & Scariness

A mobster makes a verbal threat to cut off the thumbs of some men if they don't commit a burglary for him. A man slaps another man repeatedly.

Sexy Stuff

Mild insults, such as "don't be so thick" and "dummy." Occasional rude language, such as a reference to "mudwrestling barmaids blindfolded," and recurring instances of rude humor involving flatulence.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One instance of casual drinking of wine, but it's not to excess.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Dog Who Saved the Holidays is a family Christmas comedy that relies heavily on recurring flatulence in lieu of actual punch lines. There are some insults ("don't be so thick" and "dummy") as well as mild violence (a mobster makes a verbal threat to cut off the thumbs of some men if they don't commit a burglary for him). There are some cute montages of dogs frolicking and some positive lessons about the importance of family, but fart jokes dominate.

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What's the story?

In THE DOG WHO SAVED THE HOLIDAYS, the Bannister family and dog Zeus (voiced by Joey Lawrence) visit Aunt Barbara (Shelley Long) for the holidays, where she gives them a new puppy named Eve. While the family is ensconced in some classic holiday bickering, the puppies compete for favorite family pet, and a team of burglars led by Ted (Dean Cain) case the joint in the hopes of a holiday score.

Is it any good?

Nothing wrong with a little bawdy holiday action, but The Dog Who Saved the Holidays is really just a poor man's Home Alone. It relies too heavily on tired tropes (the nagging pregnant wife, the insensitive husband) and fart jokes to really pull off what could be a cute, if sentimental, holiday movie that owes its best scenes to Shelley Long. 

Kids who like dogs may enjoy the plentiful scenes of puppies frolicking at the beach -- though you could also accomplish this with a few well-chosen YouTube compilations -- but parents may be wary of the endless flatulence jokes and stale stereotypes -- and, if not, even the plodding burglary plot will bore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about feeling left out. Have you ever felt like a sibling or a pet got more attention than you? How did you feel? What did you do about it?

  • Competition among siblings or pets is healthy but can get out of hand. Do you know friends or siblings who compete? How do they behave? What are they competing for? What are some other ways to get more attention from parents?

  • The family bickers a lot in the film. Does your family argue? How do you deal with it? How does it make you feel?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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