Sony // 2012 // 102 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 24th, 2012
A heartwarming holiday tail.
Apparently this is the second installment in the 12 Dogs of Christmas franchise. Set sometime in the 1930s (or so), Great Puppy Rescue follows the adventures -- and misadventures! -- of a legion of homeless puppies, fondly referred to as "the dogs of Doverville." Originally cared for by a loving single man, their livelihood is in danger when their owner is injured and his house burns down. With nowhere to go, the puppies are placed into a makeshift puppy orphanage.
Puppy crusader Emma O'Connor (Danielle Chuchran, Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat) is committed to helping the dogs, and her mission becomes even more time-sensitive when the local miser (Sean Patrick Flanery, The Boondock Saints) plots to shut down the orphanage and somehow turn a profit from its demise. How will Emma raise enough money to save the orphanage? By putting on a puppy musical, of course!
Holy smokes is 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue corny. Here you have all the ingredients to make a Frankenstein's monster of lumbering, muttering, nauseating Nutrasweet: cute puppies in peril, an adorable blonde, an underachieving basketball team that plays with heart and determination, and a finale that is absolutely filthy with overwrought musical numbers. Bolt it all together and you have a shambling monster of unspeakable saccharine power!
The big secret here is that the whole point of the film is to get us to the musical at the end, which takes up a solid chunk of runtime and is obviously the centerpiece of the production. I can barely remember what preceded it, save for a weird sequence where Emma and her friends become cheerleaders and sing anachronistic hip hop to motivate the boys teams to victory.
But that's not even the weirdest part. The film is based on the book The 12 Dogs of Christmas by Emma Kragen. I own this book. It's a children's book, and a lousy one at that. Kragen rewrites "The Twelve Days of Christmas," utilizing various dog breeds in the lyrics. There is no story or narrative progression; it's just repeating lines of a popular song that now features dogs. It sucks. And my daughter hates it too.
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, English SDH / French / Spanish subtitles, and mercifully nothing else.
Sean Patrick Flanery is right to be miserable.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated PG