A Puppy for Christmas (2016)

Christmas means many things to many people, but its true meaning is to be in a relationship with someone who will help you decorate a tree for the holidays. Oh, you doubt me? Then why are there a million different Christmas romances where that’s the message? Checkmate. In this particular case, A Puppy for Christmas is about finding your one true Christmas love AND adopting the worst puppy ever. Just a garbage dog. Girl, you’re ruining your life with this animal.

Noelle–a bit on the nose, but whatever–is in a seemingly perfect relationship with Todd, but what she’s really wanted all her life was a puppy. She adopts the first dog she sees, one that has some pretty serious behavior and training problems which she does absolutely nothing to fix throughout the entire movie. Problem is, Todd is allergic (or says he’s allergic, because the movie kind of suggests he lied about his allergies to get out of things he didn’t want). And he’s not ready to start a family like Noelle is, so he dumps her. She puts her job at risk by taking the dog to work with her where–surprise surprise–it causes chaos. Her coworker, who I assume had a name but I’m just going to call him “Himbo,” feels sorry and invites her to spend Christmas with his family. His fiancé is supposed to fly in, but she keeps cancelling and never actually appears in the film. Bold choice, but now Noelle and Himbo are both single.

But oh ho! Or, but ho ho ho! We keep cutting back to Todd, who realized he made a huge mistake. He rushes to get Noelle back, but his arrogant attitude and the fact that he hates the dog–again, he was never consulted during its adoption–shows Noelle that Himbo is the man for her. She figures out where the money is–oh, right, it’s not a true Christmas movie unless someone is facing eviction–and lives happily ever after with Himbo and two puppies.

Everybody has a partner by the end of this movie. Noelle has Himbo, Todd ends up more or less with his angry secret girlfriend, Himbo’s grandpa and Noelle’s older ladyfriend hook up… The only one who doesn’t get paired off is Himbo’s sister, Joyce (Ms. Allison Price). You might think that’s weird, but once you realize she’s queer coded it’s a little more obvious, unfortunately. She’s a big ol’ lez and one of the only parts of the movie I wasn’t bored by. She’s introduced by putting an arm around Noelle and saying, “Merry Christmas to me!” And from there I was hooked. She’s great.

The rest of the movie? Not so much. One of the shining examples of its mediocrity is when Noelle explained to Himbo that she and Todd never got a tree for Christmas so they’d decorate a houseplant, and Himbo says that’s the saddest thing he has ever heard. Problem is, right before that, HE TALKED ABOUT HIS PARENTS DYING AND HOW HIS CHILDHOOD HOME IS GOING TO BE SOLD! How could a writer not realize how bad that sounds? But it shows the ugly truth underneath the film: a heterosexual, opposite sex partner for Christmas is all that’s important. Everything else is like the poorly trained dog–background noise that pretends to be important, but can be ignored for the most part.

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