Monday, December 16, 2019

'Tis the Season - A Puppy for Christmas (2016)

Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: A Puppy for Christmas (2016)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Production/Distribution: Brain Power Studio, Nova Life
Director: Justin G. Dyck, Myles Milne
Writer: Melissa Rundle
Actors: Cindy Busby, Greyston Holt, Christopher Russell, Allison Price, Derek McGrath, Victoria Snow, Toya Alexis, Grant Roll, Nadine Roden, Tamara Almeida, Liz Gordon, Brigitte Kingsley, Michael McCrudden

Blurb from IMDb: After adopting a cute puppy, Noelle's world is turned upside down when her boyfriend breaks up with her. After accepting an invitation to spend the holidays with a co-worker, she is surrounded by the Christmas cheer of a happy family and soon sparks begin to fly.

Selina’s Point of View:
I hate to admit this, but my view of this film is at least a little colored by the fact that I was grumpy going into it. I was a little bitter because I had fallen asleep with my daughter and we were both comfy and cuddled up and I just wanted to sleep through the night, but I had to get up and watch a movie instead. I know. It’s a little stupid. I did try to keep an open mind, though.

A first, the plot wasn’t really helping me with that. A large part of the core of the main character is built around her need to write a featured article on what keeps married people together. However, the character is not married, or engaged, and is from a broken home. No real-life popular magazine would even think of assigning that subject to that person unless they were going for a different spin, such as: “What Doesn’t Work in Marriage.” In this internet age, it’s too easy to find out that the author has no first-hand experience on what she’s writing about and the magazine wouldn’t bet its credibility.

Once I got past that bullshit, though, I did kind of warm up to the story.

The acting wasn’t bad.

In a lot of movies like this there can be some seriously wooden performances, but I didn’t see that here. A couple of the characters were lacking in depth, but the actors did what they could.

In the end, it was predictable, but kind of comforting and filled with Christmas spirit. It’s not the first movie I’d choose to watch for the holiday, but it’s acceptable.

Cat’s Point of View:
What’s not to love about puppies? Okay, let’s set aside the whole mess factor pre-training. The cuteness dwarfs all other potential issues. I digress…

Made-for-TV movie aside, I began my viewing of this holiday film with a sense of optimism. When you add adorable animals, and Greyston Holt (See No Evil 2, Bitten, Batwoman), there was just no other option than to anticipate something interesting. I would settle for aesthetically pleasing if I’m being honest, but who’s counting?

I have to say that A Puppy for Christmas exceeded my expectations. Adorable was a good call, but it turned out to be pretty good, too. The cast was well chosen. There were secondary characters that just jumped from the screen and stole my affection. You could tell that everyone was comfortable with each other and had a good time during production. A glance at IMDb told me that there’s a lot of criss-crossed history between many of the primary cast members.

It was easy to let myself just sink into the story and go with the flow of it. I bought enough of what they were selling that it didn’t matter that the movie was following a tried and true, and thus highly predictable, recipe.

It’s even a fun movie to share with family - generally wholesome and featuring heartwarming family interaction. I watched this one with my daughter. She was sold on the puppy but also had fun guessing how things would turn out as the story unfolded.

I wouldn’t mind watching this one again. It might not be at the top of everyone’s list, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a recommendation all the same.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 29%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.0/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Movie Trailer:

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