DVD Release Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Christmas time is upon us once again, and that means for the third straight year WWE Studios is giving everyone the gift of a straight-to-video Christmas flick. Director Gil Junger and star Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, the dream team behind 2013’s Christmas Bounty, are back together for more holiday hijinks. This time around The Miz is joined by WWE Diva Paige in her film debut, as well as AnnaLynne McCord of TV’s “90210.”
Miz plays Dax, a stereotypical fast-talking businessman with no heart. Dax talks down to everyone around him, and even shuts down a youth center for falling behind on their mortgage payments. The movie takes about five minutes to put over what a rotten person Dax is before his life falls apart. Dax loses his job, his girlfriend moves out, his car is repossessed, and the bank is going to take his house. You could say he needs a Christmas miracle.
Dax gets his miracle of sorts when the beautiful Billie (McCord) shows up in his life with a mysterious job offer. Billie works for Santa Clause, who is recruiting for a new second-in-command, and Santa wants her to test Dax and see if he’s up to the task.
Meanwhile, one of Santa’s elves, the nefarious Eleanor (Paige), is scheming to get the job for herself. Since her father is the most recent occupant of the position she feels like it is rightfully hers and that it should just be handed over.
Eleanor pretty much disappears for a while as Billie administers various tests to determine if Dax can handle the job. The movie actually comes to a fairly logical conclusion about an hour in, but then there’s another half hour of movie left. At this point the script by James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin shoehorns in another plot in which Eleanor challenges Dax for the job as Santa’s right-hand-man, and they have to run a ridiculous obstacle course. Yes, someone was paid to write that.
This is where the heretofore mildly pleasant straight-to-video offering really falls off a cliff, and it’s not just the writer’s fault. The more Paige is in the movie the worse it gets. I feel a little bad saying that because she’s 23 years old and has been a wrestler pretty much her whole life, not an actor. When she talks, it sounds like she’s cutting a wrestling promo – and why wouldn’t it? Wrestling and acting are similar, but they aren’t the same, and she’s been cutting promos for years and I’m sure it’s a tough transition to make. Miz on the other hand has more experience and does just fine in his role.
All in all, Santa’s Little Helper isn’t a terrible movie, especially for straight-to-video standards. The awkward transition into the movie’s finishing sequence definitely sticks out like a sore thumb, but aside from that this is a fairly harmless TV-style movie, and a definite step up from last year’s Jingle All the Way 2.