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The Search for Santa Paws (2010) - DVD Review

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The Search for Santa Paws
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Bottom line:: The Search for Santa Paws is the typical "Disney talking dog movie" meets Annie. A heart-warming Christmas tale for sure, but some children could be disturbed by the idea of orphans or being orphaned.

MPAA Rating: G
Genre: Family
Guide Age Recommendation: 6+
Runtime: Approx. 96 minutes

The Search for Santa Paws - Overview

You may remember Santa Paws, Santa Claus' BFF, from the movie Santa Buddies. He is Santa's right-hand dog, and The Search for Santa Paws tells the story of how Santa and Santa Paws met and became friends.

Santa Paws was once just a stuffed dog given to Santa by a dear friend who had passed away, but the magic of Christmas spirit brought Paws to life, and gave Santa the best gift ever. However, on a pre-Christmas trip to New York City, Santa and Paws are separated, and a series of unfortunate events leaves an amnesia-afflicted Santa working in a toy shop as a store Santa.

The children who come to the toy shop love Santa, but none more so than a little orphan girl, Quinn, who lives nearby. So, when Paws comes looking for Santa, Quinn is eager to help. The situation looks a little grim for a while, but even amid the chaos of New York City and despite a few grown-ups seriously lacking in Christmas spirit, Christmas dreams can come true.

The Search for Santa Paws - Guide Review for Parents

The Search for Santa Paws is typical "Disney talking dog movie" meets Annie; it's a heart-warming tale about talking dogs, orphans, and Santa, and while it isn't our favorite Disney Christmas special, it does contain a good dose of Christmas spirit.

The movie is quite a tearjerker. I cried, my oldest daughter cried, but I don't think it got my husband or the little ones. Even though the movie is cheesy and totally unrealistic, I had to go get a box of tissues -- but that's just me.

Many kids will probably appreciate this kid-friendly Christmas story and the happy ending; however, some children may be disturbed by the little orphan girls who live in a home under the care of the mean Ms. Stout. One of the girls, Quinn, has lost her parents. She describes it to others that her parents "didn't make it." The thought of losing one's parents and going to an orphanage was disturbing to my five-year-old, and may be to many young children, but in the end (and after a little talk about why this would never happen to her with all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends we have to take care of her), she liked the movie.

Young children may also be unsettled by Ms. Stout's punishment of putting the orphan girls' dolls and toys in the incinerator, and the threat that she might do it to one of them if they got into too much trouble. Ms. Stout also banishes the oldest girl, Will, to the basement to sleep by herself. While the movie has a happy ending, the whole idea of this "hard-knock" life may be a little much for young children.

The child actors in this movie are delightful, and the talking animals will win over the hearts of young kids. The movie also contains an Orphan Annie style number that is a lot of fun as well - in fact, these girls could just as well be the same orphans from Annie the circumstances are so similar. I'm surprised Ms. Stout didn't break out into a reprise of "Little Girls."

The Buddies make an appearance in a cute story book special feature, so families who are Buddies fans will have a good time with that. Other special features include deleted scenes, a "sing-along" mode, and a "Deck the Halls" music video by Debby Ryan.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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