The Search for Santa Paws
|The Search for Santa Paws|
Disney release poster
|Directed by||Robert Vince|
|Produced by||Anna McRoberts|
|Written by||Robert Vince|
by Paul Tamasy
|Music by||Brahm Wenger|
|Edited by||Kelly Herron|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment|
The Search for Santa Paws is an American-Canadian Christmas adventure-fantasy-film released on November 23, 2010 (direct to video). The movie is the tenth film in the Air Bud franchise and is also a prequel to Santa Buddies, as well as a spin-off from the Air Buddies film franchise.
Santa Claus (Richard Riehle) receives a gift stuffed animal dog when his dear friend, Mr. Hucklebuckle who owned a toy store in New York City, passes away. To help cheer Santa up, they bring the stuffed dog to the magic icicle which turns it into a real puppy, whom Santa names Paws (Zachary Gordon) and tells him that they will be the best of friends for all eternity. Meanwhile, Mr. Hucklebuckle's grandson James and his wife Kate are gifted the toy store and are told by Mr. Stewart (Bill Cobbs) as long as they run it for a Christmas season with a profit then they can transfer a deed to have full ownership. James is a CPA from Los Angeles and plans to sell the store once they have ownership. Kate and James are unable to have children and are sad to face another Christmas without children of their own.
Meanwhile, a young orphaned girl named Quinn (Kaitlyn Maher) arrives at an orphanage run by a selfish, bad-tempered woman named Ms. Stout (Wendi McLendon-Covey) who does not approve of anything that children love: toys, Christmas decorations, singing, and even pets. She has a furnace which she uses to burn all the toys which she confiscates from the girls who rightfully own them. Despite the strict rules she has to respect while staying at the foster home, Quinn eventually befriends the girls, including Janie (G Hannelius), Meg, Taylor, Mary and Willamina "Will" (Madison Pettis) who has lost her love of the holiday after the death of her parents years ago.
By the suggestion of Mrs. Claus, Eli (Danny Woodburn) and Eddy (Richard Kind) the elf dog, Santa travels to New York City with Paws to visit ambassadors for the Santa cause and after running into Ms. Stout he gets hit by a cab and loses his memory, Paws sees a small person he presumes is an elf and begs for help, only leading him and Santa to become separated. A homeless man named Gus poses as a paramedic and takes Santa's crystal that keeps him eternal and his bag.
The following day Paws meets three stray dogs named Haggis, Rasta and T-Money who get caught by a dog catcher named Franklin. Using his crystal, he helps save them which makes them believe he is Santa's dog. They vow to help him so they can get off the naughty list. Santa comes across the Hucklebuckle Toy Store, where James and Kate are in search of a store Santa to help them turn a profit for the store. They hire Santa, who still has a memory loss and assumes his name is "Bud" likely due to Gus referring to him earlier. However, Santa is so popular with the children, word of the store spreads and Santa makes the store very popular.
While Ms. Stout goes to get her hair done, Will shows Quinn the store and the bike in the window she wishes she could have. Quinn goes into the store where Kate leads her to Santa, whom she asks for a puppy for the children of the orphanage to brighten their spirits and that Will could have the bike she wants. After returning to the foster home, they are caught by Ms. Stout, and Quinn inadvertently reveals an insult Will said earlier about Ms. Stout. Ms. Stout then punishes Will by leaving her to spend the night in the basement without dinner, an upset Will is disheartened that little kids always get her in trouble.
Meanwhile, the reindeer are still waiting in Central Park with the sled for Santa and Paws to return, since they are unable to fly without Santa's magic. A cub scout named Jimmy (Jonathan Morgan Heit), comes across them and vows to help find the real Santa Claus and give him the message that the reindeer are in Central Park waiting for him. He searches among all the store Santas in New York City trying to find the real Santa. He comes across Gus who is posing as a Santa with Santa's bag, ringing a bell to ask for money from passersby. He eventually finds the real Santa in Hucklebuckle Toy Store, who gives Jimmy his pin to thank him for his perseverance, even if Santa doesn't remember if he is the real Santa. In order to save Christmas, Eli and Eddy conclude they must go to New York City themselves in order to save Santa and Paws.
That evening, Paws wanders around the foster home desperately lost, calls for help. Quinn hears his distress and believes he was Santa's gift in response to her request. Paws explains his situation and Quinn agrees to hide him in the janitors closet for the night promising to take Paws to Hucklebuckles the next morning, believing that Santa is there. The next morning Will finds Quinn and Paws but cannot hear Paws speak since her Christmas spirit has subsided. Quinn then takes Paws to Hucklebuckles, unfortunately Paws wanders in at the one time Santa went for a break and James took over for him, they both head back with Quinn being hesitant to believe that Will was right. Janie discovers Quinn and Paws as they return to the orphanage and that night, Janie, Meg, Taylor and Mary discover that Paws can communicate with them too, but Will still cannot understand. Paws explains and the girls sing a musical number to make Will believe in Christmas again.
Later, without his crystal, Santa becomes ill and passes out. Kate and James bring him to the hospital and are unable to find any of his family or anyone who knows him. Meanwhile, Eli and Eddy track down Santa's crystal and find Gus in the park, who admits to taking it and feels remorse. Eli then realizes the severity of the situation knowing without the magic crystal Santa could become mortal and eventually die. Gus vows to make things right and joins Eli and Eddy find Santa and save Christmas. The trio find the reindeer who are getting weak from lack of food, so Gus searches for Christmas food for their nourishment while Eli and Eddy track down Paws' crystal, who is now at the orphanage where Quinn found him.
When Ms. Stout finds Paws in the orphanage, she takes his crystal and puts him in the basement with Will for punishment, also seizing Quinn's mothers Christmas ornament from her. During the night Will finally regains her Christmas spirit and hears Paws' voice, however by dawn the next morning without the crystal, Paws turns back into a stuffed animal. When Ms. Stout finds him, she thinks he's a toy and throws him into the incinerator. After she leaves to go on a date with Franklin and leaves the children alone, Eli and Eddy arrive and help them search for Paws and the crystal. Quinn finds Paws and manages to save him before he can fall into the incinerator. After finding them and placing the crystal back on Paws, he turns back into a real puppy.
Jimmy runs to tell the reindeer he thinks he found the real Santa and gave him the message. Gus returns with Christmas food for the reindeer. Both find they are helping as Santa Ambassadors to help save Christmas. Gus takes Jimmy to the orphanage where Eli and Eddy went. Eddy recognizes the pin Jimmy is wearing, which Santa gave him, which proves he knows where he is. Jimmy tells them where to find the real Santa at the Hucklebuckle Toy Store. Will and Quinn know where that is and take them there. Eli tells Jimmy to keep the pin and dubs him an official Santa's helper for his perseverance, before Jimmy heads home. Haggis, Rasta and T-Money arrive and join in as well determined to keep their promise to Paws.
When Kate and James tell them he's in the hospital, they work together to rescue him and give him back the crystal. But the crystal is too weak to revive Santa. Paws tells Eli to put his crystal next to Santa to help, sacrificing himself as he'll turn back into a stuffed animal. Santa wakes up to find Paws as a stuffed animal. Gus drives the reindeer sled to the toy store, so that they could rush back to the North Pole to save him with the magic icicle. With Christmas around the corner, the icicle doesn't have enough power to spare. Santa mourns over the loss of his best friend, which caused the magic to flow and turn Paws back into a full-grown dog named Santa Paws (Mitchel Musso) and Christmas is back on. Since Ms. Stout left the children alone and Will and Quinn are missing, Eli had informed Mrs. Gibson from Child Services, who then fires Ms. Stout for her cruelty towards the girls and takes over the orphanage.
Kate and James bring Will and Quinn back to the orphanage and decide to adopt them, with them all finally getting the family they always wanted. Later that night, Mrs. Gibson, Janie, and the other girls welcome Gus who brought them Santa's bag full of money he collected while posing as a store Santa. Back at the North Pole, everyone is helping to get ready for Christmas, including Haggis, Rasta and T-Money, who caught a ride with Eli and Eddy back to the North Pole and become official dog elves.
On Christmas Eve, Santa and Santa Paws visit Quinn, Will, James and Kate and Santa Paws returns Quinn's ornament to her. Kate thanks Santa for bringing them all together before they depart. Mr. Stewart returns on Christmas Day and sees that due to the toy store's success as well as donating toys to children in need as Santa had earlier suggested, James turned a profit of one cent, which his grandfather had done every previous year. This allows him and Kate to receive the deed to the store, which they decide to keep and continue the tradition through the Hucklebuckle legacy. As Mr. Stewart leaves the store he looks up and speaks to Mr. Hucklebuckle's spirit, bidding him a merry Christmas and that his wish has been fulfilled.
- Kaitlyn Maher as Quinn, a young orphaned little girl who believes in the true spirit of Christmas. She finds Paws in the alley behind the foster home.
- Madison Pettis as Willamina "Will", the oldest girl out of all the orphans who serves as an older sister figure to Quinn. She does not believe in the spirit of Christmas until she accidentally gets stuck in the basement with Paws.
- Richard Riehle as Santa Claus.
- Danny Woodburn as Eli, Santa's head elf.
- Wendi McLendon-Covey as Ms. Stout, the greedy, militaristic headmistress of the girls home and the main villain of the film. She finds Christmas, toys and anything that children love annoying or offensive. She is eventually fired as a result of the abusive treatment she has inflicted upon the girls.
- John Ducey as James Hucklebuckle, Kate's husband and grandson of the late Mr. Hucklebuckle.
- Bonnie Somerville as Kate Hucklebuckle, James' open-minded wife.
- Chris Coppola as Augustus "Gus", a poor homeless man who takes Santa's magic crystal, unaware of its power.
- Jonathan Morgan Heit as Jimmy, a boy scout who helps search for Santa.
- G Hannelius as Janie, an orphan who is best friends with Will.
- Michelle Creber as Taylor, an orphan.
- Kathryn Kirkpatrick as Mrs. Gibson, a kind social services woman who takes over the orphanage after Ms. Stout is fired.
- Melody B. Choi as Mary, an orphan.
- Nicole Leduc as Meg, an orphan.
- Patrika Darbo as Mrs. Claus.
- Pete Gardner as Franklin, Ms. Stout's boyfriend as well as a dogcatcher.
- Bill Cobbs as Mr. Stewart, James and Kate's caseworker who says they must successfully run Hucklebuckle toys profitabily for one Christmas season.
- Zachary Gordon as Paws and Mitchel Musso as Santa Paws, the Great Pyrenees of whom only people that believe in Christmas can understand what he's saying. He is a stuffed animal when the crystal on his neck is removed.
- Richard Kind as Eddy, a happy-go-lucky elf dog Jack Russell Terrier who is also Eli's assistant.
- Jason Connery as Haggis, a Scottish Terrier who's "always ready to take action", he befriends Paws and is looking to get off Santa's Naughty List.
- Christopher Massey as Rasta, a reggae Puli who is "laidback" and "easygoing", he befriends Paws and is looking to get off Santa's Naughty List.
- Josh Flitter as T-Money, a streetwise hip-hop Bulldog who is "super cool", he befriends Paws and is looking to get off Santa's Naughty List.
- Diedrich Bader as Comet, one of Santa's reindeer.
- Michael Deyermond as Dancer, another one of Santa's reindeer.
Angela Walker, writing for ChristianCinema.com, gave the DVD three stars out of five, but said that the film fits the normal Disney DVD formula. However she went on to say that the film was predictable and a little clichéd, but that kids would enjoy it and that the film adds to the "spirit of Christmas".
A sequel, Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups was released on November 20, 2012.
- Walker, Angela. "The Search for Santa Paws is a Cute Adventure". ChristianCinema.com. Retrieved 18 December 2011.