I hate it when a film preferences dull if competent romance over presposterous dialogue and wooden leads.

Sally’s German Shepherd Buddy is a dog with the very specific hobbies of inspiring books (accompanied by Sally’s illustrations which everyone says are amazing but they’re not I’m sorry guys call me a cynic they’re amateurish paintings) and reminding his owner that her husband is dead.

They lead a charmed life until Buddy runs away during a spooky storm and can’t be found. Sally is understandably distraught but I really do question her perspective when she’s complaining about the lost dog to her son who’s serving in Afghanistan. He’s all like “okay, well I have to go and potentially die now”. But no, Sally, you’re right: the dog is your only understanding and loving family member.

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“What son?”

Meanwhile because this is like a bad realisation of a Michael Morpurgo book, Buddy has been found by an Eligible Man and his wiser-than-her-years tween daughter. (If it were a good Michael Morpurgo book, Buddy would’ve gone to Afghanistan with Sally’s son and saved his life. Classic Morpurgo.) OF COURSE Sally and Eligible Man are going to get together but they take their sweet time about it. A scene where they wiggle their bums around making hot chocolate does not warrant the many dull serious scenes where they talk about dead people.

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So serious, there is pain in these smiles which is prime Christmas escapism.

The overall effect is pretty boring- a shame because a runaway dog has so much potential. He doesn’t even talk! I so wished he’d respond just once.

My MVP would go to whoever wrote those terrible lyrics that play over a scene where Sally and Eligible reveal their feelings for one another, despite their need to take it slow. The singer starts crooning:

“something’s melting down below.”

Ew.

Rating: Ho/HoHoHo.

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