Monday, December 2, 2013

A Christmas Puppy (aka Christmas Spirit) (2012): There is no puppy

A Christmas Puppy (2012)
(aka Christmas Spirit)
dir: David Decoteau

The first Decoteau film I reviewed was 1313: Bigfoot Island. Which, was terrible in an incomprehensibly terrible way. In that review, I also mentioned that Decoteau also has a line of family movies, generally featuring holiday themed puppy stories or talking animals.

This wasn't a holiday puppy movie until it was renamed to lure more people in.

Originally, this movie was titled Christmas Spirit which may or may not have featured a dog. But, it probably didn't perform as well, especially since there were so many movies it could be. And, A Christmas Puppy just sounds so kid friendly, especially if you put a picture of a golden retriever puppy on the cover in an adorable santa hat.

Well, there is a dog. A dog. And it certainly isn't a golden retriever. I think its a Bichon Frise. The dog also appears for a whole two minutes of the 88 minute run time. This dog has a 30 second introduction. Then, he disappears for the majority of the movie, until he shows up again towards the end. Finally, the dog has a cameo finale where he gives the final voice over.

But, of course, this was originally Christmas Spirit, so of course it isn't about a puppy. Instead, it's about this hot asshole teenager, Riley, whose mother is getting fired right before Christmas. He's all "Fuck Christmas" when Vanessa Angel appears as the Christmas Spirit, Hope. Now, most of you might not remember Vanessa Angel, but she was the female lead in the Farrelly Brothers film Kingpin as the hot chick. Now she's in a Decoteau film. Sad.

But, what's also sad is the mom is Maureen McCormick.  Fucking Marcia Marcia Marcia! The kid is played by Aaron Jaeger, who has this snotty voice that sounds like he's trying to deepen it, and now the voice is coming from the back of his throat instead of his chest or being nasally.

Hope arrives to Riley in his dream, and the first words out of her mouth are "Have you read ALL of these books?"  As if reading is such a pissy thing to do. And, while some of us might be, "What an idiot. Go away" apparently we're supposed to think, "Riley is such a poindexter."  So, she convinces him that she's real by putting him in an elf outfit, which he doesn't even wear for the whole movie (would have been hot with the tights), and tells him he has to help a family regain their Christmas spirit.

So, on the advice of Hope, he trespasses on the Decoteau mansion, which is the staple set of all of Decoteau productions. The residents this time around include a mom who is a children's book author, a father (played by the hunky soap star Jason Brooks), and a teen daughter. The daughter wants grandma to come by for Christmas, but they can't afford it for some reason, and so the daughter is all pissy and bitchy. It's Riley's job to get everybody into the Christmas spirit.

His first act is to spruce up their tree by making it glow from the inside. That gets the mom's attention. The mom is the author of The Littlest Werewolf, which was his favorite book as a kid. And, they bond over that, which totally gets her in the Christmas spirit. Then, he bonds with the dad. Finally, Riley conspires with the daughter to fly grandma out to Malibu.  Oh, and there's a bit about the garage not working. And, something about the teenage daughter setting up Riley to make it look like he is a thief. But, really, it was the dog?  Or, maybe it was the dog setting up Riley. It really is weird that they'd think Riley would steal such important things like the remote to their television and a stress ball.

Anyways, the movie ends with grandma coming for dinner, and Riley's mom also coming for dinner. And everybody has a happy ending. Not that type of happy ending...

The thing with Decoteau's family movies is that everybody talks. They talk and they talk. They are the inverse of the 1313 movies. The dad goes out into the rain and says, "Daddy's getting moist here!" Or, when Hope is called by the family as the garage service lady tells them that they should be spending time as a a fucked up German accent. Yeah, this movie is all words and no action. But, they're all so trite and meaningless.

Which lays out the debate of whether you want to have the shirtless boys of the 1313 series who walk around and say nothing, or the clothed assholes of his family movies (and everybody IS an asshole) who don't shut up but do nothing.

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