Hello friends! Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever, where I’m going through and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies of all-time. It feels like it’s been awhile. I’m sorry. I’ve fallen behind quite a bit. It’s a combination of too much Christmas festivities, a laptop that decided to die on me, and just a pinch of not wanting to watch these horrible movies. This one in particular was one I was dreading. And, boy, did it live up to it. This is maybe the worst movie I’ve seen yet.
Let’s just say Disney has a reputation when it comes to direct to video sequels. Plain and simple, they aren’t very good. They tend to be cheap versions of what worked so well without much of a story to tell or talented people left to tell it that’s rushed to make a quick buck or two. The Air Bud franchise in particular seemed to get hit especially hard. The first film, about a golden retriever who plays basketball, was a massive success. I remember it being all the rage in the 1990s elementary school cafeteria. Then, they made a second one, where he plays football. Not nearly as good but still successful. So, they moved to VHS and seemingly forced this poor dog to play every sport known to man. I mean… how the heck is a dog supposed to play baseball? Anyways, after running out of Dick’s Sporting Goods sections, some executive thought it would be a good idea to concentrate on Air Bud’s puppies instead. Because everyone but small children had abandoned this franchise several entries ago and kids love puppies. Also, you might as well have them talk. Because why not? And these poor puppies had to do so much more than play around in gym class. They sent these bitches to space, into tombs like Indiana Jones, and briefly turned them into superheroes. But, that’s not what I’m here today to talk about. Nope. I’m talking about the time they met Santa and had to save Christmas. More specifically (because there were a number of Christmas offerings), I’m reviewing Santa Buddies.
Now listen. I’ve sat through a lot this December. There have been movies that really, really hurt my brain. It’s been quite the ordeal. But, none of them, not a single one, tested me quite like Santa Buddies. This is the first movie all month that I straight up almost gave up on. This thing is torturous. Holy crap. There’s only so much a guy can put up with. And, apparently, dogs just standing around in semi-circles talking to each other is my breaking point. It was just so obvious that someone was standing off camera with a treat so the dogs would just stare at them for a couple minutes at a time. Then, they animated their mouths moving afterwards. The only problem with that is that the dogs then don’t have any expressions on their face. They’re just deadpan staring into the camera. And the voice actors don’t help either. Their performances are just as flat as the canines. So, no, I did not enjoy the monotone, expressionless golden retriever puppies standing around and talking about Christmas.
I would tell you about the plot, but, honestly, I was having an extremely hard time paying attention. From what I could tell, it was pretty generic. Apparently, Santa Claus has a dog named Santa Paws, who is the Santa for dogs. Santa Paws has a kid, who runs away to try and live a normal life. That’s when he meets the Air Buddies. Meanwhile, they’ve got a whole Elf style subplot where Christmas spirit is fading so I guess the whole North Pole is dying. I don’t know how they tied together. They might’ve explained it, but I really doubt it. Towards the end, I guess because Christmas spirit is so low, they have to have the puppies deliver the toys instead of the fully grown Santas. I don’t know. I just know that I was bored. It’s very cliched. And, story wise, it feels like it’s wrapping up for the whole second half of the movie. I kept thinking “Oh, thank god it’s almost over” only to discover there was still 40 minutes left. Seriously, I’d almost rather watch all of the other movies in this challenge again before sitting through a second viewing of this. It felt just about as long.
There aren’t even that many “so bad it’s good” moments in Santa Buddies. From my recollection, there’s only two. In the first, they are testing out a new vehicle for picking up Santa’s letters. It’s a typical USPS mail truck, but will change shapes depending on the country they’re in. When they bring up India, it transforms into this weird little car and the elf inside starts talking in his most offensive Indian accent. It’s definitely not the most offensive stereotyping Disney’s done, but to see it in a 2009 movie was pretty jarring. The other funny sequence has probably aged worse though. See, one of Air Bud’s children is apparently a rapper. And he talks like a rapper. It’s bizarre. Hearing a talking puppy say “fo shizzle” in a Disney movie is, well, it’s something. And, when the little Santa Paws meets up with this puppy, they have a break dancing battle. Oh my god. This CGI is the worst. First of all, the rendering is god awful. It looks like that dancing baby gif from the early 90s. There is no way anyone would buy that those puppies were actually in that living room. Second, THEY LOOKED NOTHING LIKE THE LIVE ACTION DOGS. They’re different breeds! Like, what the hell. I wish I could find a clip, because it’s hilariously bad. One of the worst CGI moments I’ve ever seen in a movie. Other than that though, there’s nothing to write home about here.
So, yeah, that’s a big no from me for Santa Buddies. This might be one of the most painful movies I’ve ever had to watch. It was absolute torture. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemies. Especially at Christmas. There’s almost absolutely no fun to be had here. It’s just a bunch of blank stares from puppies. I’d rather gauge my own eyes out then watch the two other Santa Paws movies. Honestly though, watch me do it that next year.