Santa’s Little Helper (2015)

Once upon a time, my guilty pleasure was watching WWE wrestling (I’ve previously talked about it in the Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon post). But even that doesn’t fully explain why I bought a physical DVD of a Christmas comedy starring The “The Miz” Miz, AKA Mr. Mike Mizanin, AKA The Miz. He’s not my favorite wrestler. He’s not even in my top 10! The only lists he tops are “most punchable faces” and “best example of self-absorbed heels!” But this also features Saraya-Jade “Paige” Bevis, one of my favorites. And she’s the sinister rival. With hilariously bad elf ears. Okay, I’m back on board with owning this.

The Miz stars as Dax, the biggest jackass you can imagine in a PG movie. I mean, the opening scene is him parking in a handicap spot so he can gleefully tell a youth center that their building is going to be bulldozed before Christmas and there’s nothing they can do. Bit overkill, but okay. After that he’s fired because–and I hope this should be clear by now–nobody likes him. His girlfriend dumps him, his car is repossessed, and he’s about to be kicked out of his house. Enter Santa and his elf helper, Billie (Annalynne McCord). The elves in this movie are all human-sized, but Billie stands out because she’s a “round ear,” meaning she doesn’t have pointed ears. Santa tasks her with seeing if Dax is the right person for the job of Head Office Herald of Holiday Operations, or the HOHOHO. She visits Dax and dangles a prestigious job from an unknown benefactor if he can prove himself. A couple comedic escapades later and Dax is less of an ass. When it’s revealed that the job is from Santa, we have a magical flashback to show why Dax is such a Scrooge: when he was young and attending the same youth center from the opening, one of the adults embezzled money and blamed Dax for it. This is the same reason the youth center couldn’t afford rent, by the way. So Dax gets his Christmas spirit back and is about to become head of the HOHOHO, but then Eleanor (Paige) swoops in and challenges him. Her dad used to run the HOHOHO and she believes it’s her right to lead it, which is hilarious considering that’s basically her real life wrestling backstory. Anyway, Eleanor wins the challenge. Dax steals some Christmas magic and summons the embezzler in front of the youth center, leading to that guy’s arrest. With some help from Santa and Billie, he manages to save the youth center. Christmas is saved! Santa chides Eleanor for being a poor sport, and gives the job of HOHOHO to Billie. This was all a test for you, girl! She and Dax hook up and we’re supposed to forget that he is still broke, jobless, and homeless. Maybe he can stay on Santa’s couch or something?

Look, it’s a feel good holiday movie starring WWE wrestlers. It doesn’t have to be all that good, and it doesn’t really try. Paige is the only elf actor I saw with visibly pointed ears, and even those don’t look good. The rest wear knit hats of various colors, which look homemade? And if that’s true, that means way more time was spent on a workaround for the elves’ ears than just buying two or three dozen sets of fake ears. But this is really for the wrestling fans, demonstrated by the Miz’s real life wife having a cameo as a bartender and the people at the old folks’ home watching an episode of Total Divas. You can’t fool me, subtitles! I know that’s actually Natalya “Natty” Neidhart, not “Maddy!” I see that shameless plug!

So, um… There’s a weird message of racism throughout this. Billie is looked down on because of her round ears, a genetic abnormality. We don’t see her bullied (beyond Eleanor being a bitch), but it’s clearly done some damage as she thinks Dax is teasing her when he says she’s beautiful. That’s some serious self-doubt, girl! Especially when you are super conventionally attractive! That implies years of mistreatment from the other elves, and that Santa and Mrs. Claus didn’t take enough steps to curtail it. She gets the guy in the end, but it’s just baffling how pervasive the casual racism against her apparently was.


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