Friday, December 1, 2017

Deck The Halls With Anything But A Bulldog For Christmas

Bulldogs, like any dog in existence, are adorable. Just look at this little guy on a skateboard:
Or this bulldog who is just so happy about his costume!
See what I mean? These are precious puppers! So you'd think a movie called A Bulldog For Christmas would be a guaranteed success, the biggest can't miss proposition for a movie in history. But A Bulldog For Christmas misses the mark simply by ignoring the bulldog of its title for long stretches of its runtime! Yes, the movie A Bulldog For Christmas shunts its titular canine off to the sidelines for the majority of its plot even though the only reason any human being would watch this movie would be to watch the bulldog shenanigans. It's like if someone made a Star Trek movie and filled the runtime with a boring cooking video instead!

The premise of A Bulldog For Christmas is the same kind of plot we've seen tons of times before in that magical subgenre that revolves around a heavily flawed human being turning into a household pet to learn a lesson about better appreciating their family and life itself (The Shaggy Dog and Nine Lives are famous examples of this subgenre). Here, the person getting turned into a bulldog is college student Sally Kroger (Marylee Osborne) and you can tell she's a troubled soul because she returns home from college covered in piercing and attire that some old out of touch studio executive from 2005 thinks all the cool Goth kids are wearing these days.

Sally wants nothing to do with her families tradition of going to their deceased grandfather's winter home and celebrating Christmas and thus, she is visited by some kind of magical entity known as Chips (Henrique Couto, who also directs this project) who proceeds to turn her into a bulldog so she can learn a valuable lesson about appreciating her family and the spirit of the holidays. Wicked Uncle Randall (Vincent Holiday) shows up soon after Sally has turned into a dog proclaiming he wants to sell the grandfather's house for large sums of money because the prospect of suddenly turning into a dog wasn't enough conflict for this movie.

The absolute strangest part of A Bulldog For Christmas is how little of it actually concerns the titular bulldog. There are two brief segments of the movie that run about a minute each that are solely devoted to footage of the titular bulldog running around in a backyard that are easily the highlight of the whole feature, it's just so much fun to watch this doggo run around and being happy. Aside from those momentary distractions though, A Bulldog For Christmas shuns its lead canine to the sidelines, typically just going back to it so that Marylee Osborne can deliver wry voice-over quips, including one that leads into a confusingly executed fart joke.

When we're not watching medium shots of a bulldog accompanied by banal voiceover work, A Bulldog For Christmas concerns itself with treating the struggles of its various family members as serious as possible. Way too much screentime is handed over to characters delivering somber monologues reflecting their inner emotions while neither the performances nor the writing of these extended dialogue pieces are anywhere near good enough to warrant so much screentime being devoted to them. There's one scene in particular where Peggy Kroger (Erin R. Ryan) wistfully monologues about her woes for what seems like an eternity while her boyfriend tries to propose to her that becomes more and more like nails on a chalkboard as it goes on.

The character-based drama takes up so much of the story of A Bulldog For Christmas that long stretches of screentime without a single appearance by a bulldog. And when that bulldog does show up, it's usually so more tedious voiceover one-liners can rear their head or, in one instance, it's so that the mom of the Kroger family can claim that all bulldogs are "ugly". Bulldogs aren't ugly! What is ugly is the weird green-screen that shows up throughout the film, though at least such distracting backgrounds are bound to capture your attention, unlike the monotonous dialogue.  Ugh, A Bulldog For Christmas is so boring and lacking in bulldog shenanigans, you're better off just watching gifs of bulldogs like the one below:

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