The Search for Santa Paws (2010)

search for santa paws poster 2010 movie
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 3/10

Better than Santa Buddies

Still not good

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Search for Santa Paws

Studio:  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Genre(s):  Seasonal/Family

Release Date(s):  November 23, 2010

MPAA Rating:  G


Oh Santa Paws, you’re the bestest dog ever!

When Santa Claus (Richard Riehle) seems down, the elves and Mrs. Claus (Patrika Darbo) decide to give him a dog to cheer him up.  On a routine trip to New York City, Santa is accidentally struck by a car, loses his memory, and finds himself without magic.  Santa Paws becomes lost in the streets of New York and is befriended by orphans who are kept by a cruel house mother named Ms. Stout (Wendi McLendon-Covey).  When Santa begins working for a couple named Kate and James Hucklebuckle (Bonnie Somerville and John Ducey) who are trying to unload their relative’s toy shop, Santa begins to reveal that magic isn’t always needed to make a change.  Time however is running out for Santa and Santa Paws, and Christmas Eve is approaching fast!


Hey, that lady from Bridesmaids plays Ms. Hannigan…I mean Ms. Stout!

Directed by Robert Vince, The Search for Santa Paws is a prequel to the “Buddies” film Santa Buddies from 2009.  The movie is technically not considered part of the “Buddies” canon which continued after Santa Buddies with Spooky Buddies in 2009.  The movie was released straight to DVD on November 23, 2010.

Talking dog movies (especially around the holidays) somehow have found a niche.  This is a spin-off of another talking dog movie which was awful.  Despite this, I think The Search for Santa Paws might be a slight improvement on Santa Buddies.



Don’t get me wrong, The Search for Santa Paws is bad, but Santa Buddies was almost unwatchable.  Here, the movie has all the holiday clichés, but a kid probably will enjoy the combination of Annie and A Miracle on 34th Street blend.  With less dogs than the previous movie and less North Pole, the plot seems to be a bit less hokey than the originals.

With a bit of a stronger plot, the acting also improves.  Nothing can be done about the kid actor who feel very Disney, but the adult cast does an ok job with the dialogue which doesn’t even reach TV movie level.  Richard Riehle is a kind of creepy looking Santa Claus, but is a step up over George Wendt who seemed to phone in the role in Santa Buddies.  Underused is comedian Wendi McLendon-Covey who as the house mother (who is essentially Annie’s Ms. Hannigan) who out-and-out evilness is kind of fun.


Creepy Santa running around with a stuffed dog…call the mental institution

The movie still looks cheap.  The animation on the talking dogs are horrible.  There are a few bad musical numbers as well, and you do have to wonder if the movie even had any budget at times when you look at things like the exterior visuals of Santa’s workshop (which look like recues from Santa Buddies).  I do think it is amusing when Santa Paws turns into a stuffed dog and they just carry him around.

The Search for Santa Paws is an average kids’ movie.  I do think it is better than the first entry but it would take a lot more to make this a good movie.  Despite the fact that the movies are cheap with poor production quality, they do make money.  Therefore, The Search for Santa Paws was followed by a sequel Santa Paws 2:  Santa Pups in 2012.

Related Links:

Santa Buddies (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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