A little research told me that Olsen’s film is the third in a dog-saving-holiday franchise, following The Dog Who Saved Christmas, and The Dog Who Saved Christmas Again. It’s always nice to know that the film you’re watching is crap, but comes from a long line of crap.
We follow Zeus the dog, no shock twists so far. Zeus has already saved the family twice, but his owners clearly don’t think he’s done enough and cruelly abandon him at a kennel- which by the way is not a kennel, but a big old house with an unguarded swimming pool. Dog death trap I think maybe. A girl called Alice runs the kennel, but she is so bland I forgot her name halfway through- the kennel exists mainly so a really hammy villain, rival kennels-owner Cressida, can send some idiot thugs across to Home Alone the shit out of the house (ie. steal all of the possessions, whilst everyone is conveniently out on an Easter egg hunt). Little do they know that Zeus is, I dunno, like a superdog or something? He promptly Home Alones the shit out of them (ie. he beats them up or something. I can’t remember, I got quite bored at this point).
From the bad film formula POV, it’s a great contrived set up. What’s anyone’s motivation? Damned if I know! The bad guys are the poor man’s Alec Baldwin (Dean Cain), the poor man’s Rob Lowe, and the poor man’s generic fat guy who has only farts for character development. The main villain is like watching your friend’s mum doing amateur dramatics, the love interest is in ill-fitting glasses- it’s all a mess.
The animals, however, are excellent. Once you get used to the fact that none of their mouths move, so it’s like a creepy telepathic conversation every time the dogs talk, there are some entertainingly mismatched voices. My favourite is the poodle who has a voice so broken you’d think he’s going through puberty twice, and the Russian cat is as “wtf” as it is a lazy characterisation of a bad guy. Zeus has a romance with bland girl’s love interest’s dog (what are the odds?) which is sweet, although if it were a realistic film those dogs would have been humping after five minutes if they’d really been in love. There’s a British rabbit who hates everyone (and is thus the most relatable character in the entire film. A rabbit. That’s who you’ll relate with.), and some chickens who make terrible puns at regular intervals. Are they watching the film and providing commentary? Do they think they’re the first people to ever say “I’m egg-cited!”? I can’t be bothered to ask any more.
The film is actually enjoyable, if you forget the dumb ass humans. Cressida brings the delightful season’s greetings: “It won’t be Happy Easter until I mop the floor with your pretty little face.” Humans are way too harsh, stick with dogs instead. Even if they’re freaky telepathic, chastity-pledging, pun forcing dogs, they’re the lesser of two evils. Happy Easter.
Rating: Overegged? (Two stars)