Plot: Sally (Marylee Osborne) has just returned home for a family Christmas, but she is none too thrilled about the situation. She dislikes all the Christmas spirit and thinks her family is lame, so she just wants the holidays to be over quickly, so she can get back to her life elsewhere. As the rest of the family draws together and to celebrate, Sally pulls back more and more, with a cynical attitude and an awkward presence, as if she is above this kind of sentiment. Just when her family has had enough of her nonsense, Sally meets an oddball spirit named Chips (Henrique Couto), who turns her into a bulldog so that she can learn a lesson about family. But will she learn her lesson or will her bad attitude keep her in canine form forever?
Entertainment Value: If you’ve ever wondered what a micro-budget take on Hallmark style Christmas movies might look like, you’re in luck, as A Bulldog For Christmas is just what the doctor ordered. The premise leans on family friendly laughs, rather than holiday romance, but it captures that Hallmark vibe well, just with the awkwardness dialed up to max levels. The narrative is played for laughs, but with a sincere tone that makes all of the awkward moments and tuned up Hallmark sentiment all the more outlandish. I don’t know if this was meant as a satire or if the cast just really had fun and decided to embrace the schmaltz, but A Bulldog for Christmas has an offbeat sense of humor and an infectious energy. That energy is what makes the movie so much fun, as it makes even the cheesiest scenes have this oddball edge, like how awkward the father is at all times. I think Hallmark devotees might find it on the goofy side, but there is appeal here to that crowd, while those who aren’t big Hallmark Christmas fans could appreciate the strange humor and awkward vibes. I had a good time with A Bulldog for Christmas, so it earns a solid recommendation.
No nakedness and no bloodshed. This is a silly, family friendly holiday comedy, so it is no surprise that sleaze and blood aren’t present. So if you hoped the bulldog would snap and tear the oblivious father to shreds, no such luck here. The dialogue is loaded with extra cheese and is presented as sincere, which makes the family fun and sentiment all the more ridiculous. I think this approach is much more fun than an outright parody, as that thread of sincerity works wonders, not just for those in search of b movie laughs, but Hallmark addicts looking for a similar fix. The jokes are lame, but hilarious at the same time, while there is an ever present awkwardness between the characters, with the dad as an especially strange presence. So the dialogue is terrible, but pure magic if you like offbeat, awkward moments. As for craziness, the whole premise is weird, but not much sillier than some of the other Hallmark/Christmas family movies I have sat through before. The awkwardness earns some points, as well as the sincere approach to some real groan inducing humor.
Overall Insanity: 4/10