Case Number 24859: Small Claims Court


Anchor Bay // 2012 // 84 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // November 24th, 2012

The Charge

The holiday...fetch some fun!

The Case

So, here's the rundown:

It's a direct-to-DVD movie called Chilly Christmas, and it's about a dog named...Chilly Christmas. The dog is so named because he was a Christmas present to a little boy named Bobby (Bryson Sams) from his widowed father (C. Thomas Howell, The Outsiders)...and, he has a "chilly" tongue (the dog, not the kid or his dad).

Chilly is Bobby's best friend, although Bobby also has colorful human kid friends. Despite being half-orphaned, he's not a lonely child, or sick, or depressed, or run down, or anything like that. He's just a direct-to-DVD-normal kid living in California with his dad and his dog.

Chilly is all kinds of personable; he can turn on the TV and the bathtub, and he runs on the beach in slow motion like Bo Derek did in 10 (that's 70 in dog years, by the way). But Chilly is also all kinds of trouble -- cute dog trouble, you know, shaking his wet, sandy body out in the kitchen, knocking things over, using expensive running shoes as a toilet, the whole cute, messy dog drill.

Happy and cute as all this is, we need some conflict to make this a movie. So here goes: Dad's a cop who gets courted by the FBI to head a field office -- in New York City! And since everyone knows there are no big dogs in New York City, Dad decides that his half-orphaned son will have to abandon his best friend and move away from the place he's lived his entire life.

Weirdly, enough, Dad's not the villain here. That role is left to Tom Arnold (True Lies), who plays a sophisticated dognapper. Well, he's "sophisticated" in as much as he does things like refers to police officers as "constables." His dognapping methods are none too swift, as he employs a pair of bumbling henchmen who leave forensic-science friendly clues at the scenes. Since the film is geared for children who know little of forensic science, these clues matter little.

The ironies: Dad is assigned the dognapping as his last case, and the dognappers have their eye on Chilly, who's some kind of expensive, rare breed of dog.

There's not a lot to say about a movie like Chilly Christmas. It hits its demographic -- 'tweens, and thereabouts -- but does little else. There is nothing to distinguish it from the dozens of "pop in the DVD and keep the kids quiet" product released each year. It's got the requisite number of poop and pee jokes, a late-game Home Alone-style bit with the kid and the dog outfoxing the bad guys, and arbitrarily cast adult roles by actors who've seen better days (stay gold, C. Thomas Howell). It's all perfectly fine for what it is, but what it is isn't much.

The disc from Anchor Bay sports an expectedly clear picture and audio and no supplements.

The Verdict

Silly, forgettable, and innocuous, Chilly Christmas is no better or worse than the holiday crankings from the Hallmark and Disney Channel.

Case dismissed due to lack of interest.

Review content copyright © 2012 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 72

Perp Profile
Studio: Anchor Bay
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English

Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb