The Search for Santa Paws
December 11, 2018
(The Channel Awesome logo and the title sequence play)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. (Beat; the poster of The Search for Santa Paws appears in the corner) So this is a thing.
(The title sequence of the movie is shown, followed by clips)
NC (vo): If you have kids or grew up in the early 2000s, you're probably familiar with the straight-to-DVD film The Search for Santa Paws. That's Search for Santa Paws. (The novel "Santa Paws" by Nicholas Edwards from 1996 is shown) You didn't think a name this cute wasn't snatched earlier, did you? (Cover for Filmation's Ghostbusters and the cartoon show The Real Ghostbusters are shown) But they Real-Ghostbuster-ed it and we got what is still constantly downloaded on streaming sites, advertised at DVD shops, and rented at the ancient temples (A temple is shown with the store sign "Family Video" edited in) known as rental stores. Before we jump into this, let's go into a little history.
NC: (in an ironic tone) Because Santa Paws kinda has a cinematic universe.
(Cut to footage of the 1997 movie Air Bud)
NC (vo): The movie, believe it or not, came from the film Air Bud, the late 90s flick about a dog who played basketball.
Referee (Jay Brazeau): Does he dribble?
Arthur Chaney (Bill Cobbs): No, but he might drool a little bit.
(NC laughs sarcastically)
NC (vo): I guess it was popular enough that it warranted... No, you need to cut to me when I say that.
NC: (air quotes) "Warranted" several sequels.
(We see more footage from the direct and indirect sequels)
NC (vo): Including Air Bud: Golden Receiver, (NC groans at the pun) Air Bud: World Pup, (He groans harder on this one) Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, (He groans even harder on this one) and Air Bud: Spikes Back, (A frame of a Darth Vader dog is edited in the upper left corner) where we find out Dog Vader is his father.
Luke Skywalker: (audio) NOOOOOO!!
NC (vo): And then we got spin-off DVD movies about Air Bud's offspring called Air Buddies. This was a big hit, so as Disney does, we got a ton of spin-off films from that, too, including Space Buddies, Super Buddies, and, you guessed it, Santa Buddies. From there, we got another spin-off series...
NC: Because this is the Star Trek of epic puppy sagas.
NC (vo): And that series was called The Search for Santa Paws, a prequel to Santa Buddies and arguably the most pup-ular of the films.
NC: (leans his head on his hand in annoyance while rubbing his right temple) Christ, see what saying these titles does?
NC (vo): With that said, I'll give a heads up, I surprisingly haven't seen most of the previous films, including Santa Buddies. But judging by how many people pull this film out for their kids every season, I'm assuming many others haven't either. I'm just looking it over on its own to see if it's worthy of the attention it's gotten.
NC: With that said, get your gingerbread kibble ready as we take a look at The Search for Santa Paws.
(We cut to Santa's workshop at the North Pole, that looks less like a workshop and more like a decorated motel. After that, we see the inside of the facility, where elves are preparing gifts for the children and a dog, dressed like an elf, is controlling the process)
NC (vo): It starts off at Santa's work...motel. As the credits roll, the elves are singing and I suddenly realize how many dogs are gonna be tortured by Hobby Lobby's leftovers.
(Santa enters the workshop, as a musical number about preparing gifts starts playing)
Santa Claus (Richard Riehle): (singing) Everyone is welcome here...
NC: You know, I also think it was brave to cast Hugo Weaving as Santa.
NC (vo): Most say his eyebrows give children nightmares, but those will quickly be intercepted by the scary CG mouths on most of the dogs.
Santa and Elves: (singing, stands on the rolling table) We'll make the perfect Christmas toy / For every girl and boy!
NC: Wait a minute. (takes a closer look) Who provided the dogs for this?
(A credit reads "Animals Provided by Steve Martin's Working Wildlife")
NC (vo): Oh, I don't know, movie.
NC: You've seen how he's...
(Cut to two clips: one from the 1979 movie The Jerk, showing Navin Johnson juggling kittens, and the second from Bowfinger, showing a Collie walking in high heels)
NC (vo): ...treated kittens in The Jerk, as well as the gender confusion he's pushed in Bowfinger.
NC: You let those dogs figure out themselves themselves!
Santa: (singing) Christmas season starts today, / Hurry up and fill the sleigh, / These toys...
Mrs. Claus (Patrika Darbo): (singing) Happy birthday, Santa dear! / Sixteen hundred...
NC: Jesus, I didn't know Santa Paws was a friggin' opera.
(The Clauses waltz around the workshop)
NC (vo): Even the dog shit probably has an aria in them.
(The elf dog from before (called Eddy) and the lead elf named Eli, played by Danny Woodburn, enter the workshop carrying a present box)
Eli: Special delivery, Santa.
(Santa takes a letter to read)
Eddy (voiced by Richard Kind): Just arrived by North Pole Express.
NC: (shaking head, arms folded) Richard Kind, you're better than this. I don't even need to check the credits, I know it's you.
NC (vo): First, you're asked to kill a cat's voice, (The shot from Tom and Jerry: The Movie is shown) and now a dog.
NC: You're not gonna fade away like Bing Bong! You're funny, and I still believe in you!
NC (vo): It looks like a friend named Mr. Hucklebuckle died, and...weirdly enough, they put a lot of depressing attention on this.
Santa: (reading, as everybody looks on solemnly) "Mr. Hucklebuckle enjoyed passing on your message to the children of New York. The joy of a life of service. I've sent you the birthday present from Mr. Hucklebuckle that he had hoped to give you himself."
(NC shifts eyes in confusion)
NC: (nervously sings to the tune of "Jingle Bells", holding up both hands) Santa Paws, Santa Paws...
(Santa opens up the present box, and inside it is a stuffed white dog)
NC (vo): I mean, come on. Aren't there supposed to be, like, cute little puppies in this- OH, GOD!! Is that dog stuffed?!
Santa: Mr. Hucklebuckle was a great ambassador for the Santa Cause.
NC: (as Santa) The corpse of his beloved pet will be our Yule log in his honor.
(We cut to Hucklebuckle Toys shop in New York, and its founder's grandson James (John Ducey) and his wife Kate (Bonnie Sommerville) take a first look at it and enter)
NC (vo): Well, that was off-puttingly depressing, as it seems Hucklebuckle was a toy store owner...thank God, I thought he was a Christmas porn star...as his grandson checks out the abandoned shop with his wife and a wise old black man.
NC: Well, they don't have enough for Morgan Freeman, so I'll just say...Bill Cobbs?
(James and Kate's caseworker Mr. Stewart enters the shop as well, and the caption shows that, like in the opening movie of the franchise, he's played by Bill Cobbs)
NC: (as pictures of both Cobbs and Freeman are shown) It's always one of those two.
Stewart: Your grandfather left you the key to the store.
James: We're gonna put the building on the market immediately.
Stewart: There is, however, one stipulation.
NC: (as Stewart) You have to watch all the Buddy movies. (as James, offscreen) Oh, no. (as Stewart) Oh, yeah. (as James, offscreen) Oh, no! (as Stewart, smiling) Oh, yeah!
Stewart: You need to operate the store through one Christmas season profitably before the deed can be transferred.
NC: (as Stewart) It's what we lawyers call "the middle finger clause". Coincidentally, the same title as that Tim Allen/Martin Short movie. (The poster for Santa Clause 3 is shown with "The middle finger clause" as the fake tagline below)
Kate: We'll keep the store open through Christmas, Mr. Stewart.
Stewart: And I'm sure your children will love it here.
Kate: (hesitates a bit) We haven't been blessed with any children.
NC: (as an image of a foot is edited on a table, pretending to be eating it) Mmmm. That's good foot.
Stewart: I'll be back Christmas Day, Mr. Hucklebuckle. (heads to the door)
NC (vo; as Stewart): To bring up other awkward social standings, how's your finances? You get along with your parents? Do both of you agree on religion and politics?
Stewart: Merry Christmas.
NC (vo): So, let's see. Santa's workshop has suffered a death, his (Hucklebuckle's) grandson has to operate a business he knows shit about, and his wife can't have kids.
NC: Any other heartwarming stab in the nards you want to start us off with?
(A young orphaned girl Quinn (Kaitlyn Maher) is dragged into an orphanage, which is run by a strict and bad-tempered Ms. Stout (Wendi McLendon-Covey))
NC (vo): Oh, great! An abandoned girl is left in an orphanage run by a cruel bitch from The Devil Wears Prada if it was a Saturday morning cartoon!
Stout: (yelling) Willamina!
NC: Is this theReturn to Oz of Buddy movies?! Lighten the hell up!
(Willamina, or Will for short, played by Madison Pettis, returns to the bedroom through a window, but is unaware that Ms. Stout is standing behind her)
Will: Janie, where's Ms. Stout? (Stout yanks Will by her hair to turn her back)
NC (vo): Oh, good! Another character we can feel sorry for. I do hope in this first 12 minutes, you're satisfied with the two seconds of a cute puppy we've shown!
Stout: New kid, much cuter than you, and younger. I'm sure she'll go fast.
NC: Okay, you're making the Harry Potter family look like Fuller House. (The picture of the Dursleys from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is shown)
Quinn: (to Will) Where's the Christmas tree?
Will: Ms. Stout can't stand Christmas, so none of us are allowed to have it.
NC: (as Will) We just decorated Mrs. Hopewell in the back. We're weird.
Will: She confiscates any toys. And most of all, she hates any kind of singing.
NC (vo): Kinda wondering how she got to be the head of this place. Isn't this like a car shop being anti-oil?
(Will introduces Quinn to the rest of the orphans)
Janie (G. Hannelius): What happened to your parents?
Quinn: They didn't make it. They had to go to heaven.
Taylor (Michelle Creber): Mine neither. Janie's, too, but she still thinks they're gonna come for her.
Janie: They are gonna come for me.
Will: Nobody's parents are coming for them.
(NC stares in shock and confusion again)
NC: (sings nervously, waving hands) Santa Paws, Santa Paws!...
(To help cheer Santa up, Mrs. Claus and the elves bring the stuffed dog to a giant magic icicle in the cave and put a collar with a crystal on the dog's neck)
NC (vo): Well, we're only 15 minutes in. Might as well now finally focus on a dog.
(The sparkles form around the icicle and fly inside the crystal on the collar, which makes the dog come alive, to the joy of Santa)
NC (vo): They use some kind of magic icicle to bring the toy dog to life, and they call him Paws.
Santa: (petting Paws) You and l are going to be best friends for all eternity.
Paws (voiced by Zachary Gordon): Eternity? How long is that?
Santa: Why, forever, young pup.
(The image of the smiling Santa suddenly turns to black, as the ominous chorus is heard)
NC: Oh, sorry. With the mood you've been going for, I assume that's the music you wanted. Let's try this.
(The upbeat song named "Friends for Life" starts playing as Paws is shown doing various things in Santa's workshop)
NC: (meekly) Yaaaaay!
(Paws is shown on a conveyor belt, wearing a red jumper and glasses. Santa and the elves laugh at this)
NC: (laughs a bit) Still thinking of those kids with dead parents.
NC (vo): I think they're trying to overcompensate for how miserable this opening is, because now everybody laughs like a friggin' lunatic!
(Paws pops up from the box full of letters, making everybody laugh uproariously some more. NC laughs madly)
NC (vo): Look at how scared he is of us creepy Hell demons!
(NC leans forward, laughing)
NC: You're here forever, doomed dog!
(He laughs like a madman alongside the footage of everybody in the workshop laughing at Paws, leaning even more, going louder and louder...and cut to Quinn standing outside in the night, holding an angel figure)
NC (vo): Well, be it scary uncomfortable, at least we're finally getting some laughs in that-
Quinn: (singing) Who will kiss my head?
NC: (throws hands up, annoyed) Oh, for God's sake!
NC (vo): This is supposed to be Disney's equivalent of dogs barking "Jingle Bells"! Stop trying to turn it into Angela's Christmas Ashes!
(Cut back to the workshop, where Santa is prepared to visit the ambassadors for the Santa Cause in New York)
Eddy: Ever since Mr. Hucklebuckle's passing, Christmas spirit has been out of whack in New York.
NC (vo): Oh, my God, even the dogs talk about death!
NC: (hand laying on his right temple) I never thought I had to say this to Santa Paws, but somebody friggin' smile!
(Santa takes Paws along with him as they fly in the sky and arrive in New York)
NC (vo): So Santa and Paws go looking for another ambassador to the Santa Cause and land in the middle of the night in Central Park.
NC: And that's the last we ever saw of them.
(Cut to a shot of the cemetery, with "Santa" carved on one gravestone. Back to the movie, Santa runs into Ms. Stout, who accidentally throws her hat away to the open road. Paws runs to grab the hat)
NC (vo): He bumps into the owner of the orphanage, who loses her hat in the street, so Paws tries to go retrieve it.
Santa: Paws, no! (sees a taxi riding in their direction) Stop!
(The car stops, but it accidentally knocks Santa out)
NC (vo; angrily): Well, congratulations, movie! You killed Santa! Only a half hour in, and you erased the fat man!
NC: I can't wait to see your follow-up movie...
(The made-up title for the movie "Easter Buddies" is shown alongside the sniper scope on an image of a bunny)
NC (vo): ...where you assassinate the Easter Bunny!
NC: You're sick and you're all going to Hell!
(A homeless man named Gus (Chris Coppola) takes Santa's crystal that keeps him eternal and his bag. In the meantime, Paws gets separated from Santa)
NC (vo): Oh, don't worry, it's not as bad as all that. He just gets robbed. Yeah, losing his bag, his icicle necklace, and even his memory.
(Santa wakes up, having no recollection of everything that happened before, and comes across a boy)
Santa: l was hoping you could help me. You see, l don't quite remember where l live. Or anything else, for that matter.
NC: (as Santa) Though I do have a vague recollection of conquering Martians.
(Paws is shown spending the night under a car. The next morning, Santa is waiting for a bus on a stop with a "Merica" sign above. He sees the Hucklebuckle Toys shop and has an will to visit it)
NC (vo): Paws also gets separated, but Santa just happens to make his way to Hucklebuckle Toys...you know, across from...
(A clip of Denny's Red, White, and Blue Pancakes commercial is shown)
Old Man: America?
(Santa enters the shop and is happily greeted by the Hucklebuckles)
NC (vo): And, what a stroke of luck, they're looking for a department store Santa!
James: So, can you start today?
Kate: You're looking for work, right?
Santa: More like a home, really.
NC: (as James, smirking) Gotcha. (points to his right) Out.
(Santa comes out the door, wearing the clothes for his work)
NC (vo): So they get the real Santa Claus to be a fake Santa Claus without realizing he's the real Santa Claus.
(A clip from Fargo (1996) is shown)
Carl Snowalter (Steve Buscemi): It's like robbing Peter to pay Paul. It doesn't make any sense.
NC (vo): And they even offer him a place to stay in the store, because...wouldn't you do that for a guy you just met?
(While Ms. Stout is gone, Will shows Quinn the store and the bike in the window she wishes she could have. Quinn goes into the store where Kate leads her to Santa, whom she asks for a puppy for the children of the orphanage and that Will could have the bike she wants)
NC (vo): The two girls sneak out and visit Santa in the store.
Kate: What did she ask you for?
Santa: She wanted me to get her friend, Will, that red bike in the window.
NC: (as Santa) I have a strange urge to break into their homes and eat their circular desserts.
(Down in the dumps, Paws meets three stray dogs named Haggis, Rasta and T-Money, who hide from a dog catcher)
NC (vo): Paws, meanwhile, comes across a group of scrounging dogs to see if they know where Santa is.
Paws: Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Paws, from the North Pole.
Rasta (voiced by Christopher Massey): (is a Puli) Yeah, mon, and l be the Tooth Fairy.
NC: You expect me to believe I didn't just clean the floor with you a minute ago? (An image of a black mop is shown)
(The catcher finds the dogs and captures them in a net, putting them into a truck. Meanwhile, Ms. Stout confronts Will and Quinn right in the back door)
NC (vo): A dog catcher grabs them, though, as the girls are caught sneaking back in.
Stout: (leads the girls into the dark basement) When you break the rules, you get to spend all night down here in the basement.
(The furnace lights up, scaring Quinn)
NC (vo; in a booming echoing voice): Hello, Kevin!
Stout: You're staying here, and no dinner for you either.
NC: (as Will) Okay, but can I at least see a dog scene that goes over a minute in this film? (as Stout, offscreen) Just for that, I'm showing you a Grumpy Cat Christmas! (as Will, disappointed) Ohhhh!
(We go to a commercial. After returning, we're shown Paws releasing the stray dogs using the magic from the crystal)
NC (vo): So Paws uses his magic necklace to break the others out, and they decide to help him.
T-Money (voiced by Josh Flitter): Now we're your peeps. We'll keep an eye out for Santa. For real.
Rasta: You did us a solid, mon. You be cool with us.
NC: (as Rasta) I got some brothers in the Fly Guy neighborhood. (A photo of five small toys with big eyes is shown) I'm pretty sure they've seen his face on a Happy Meal box.
(The reindeer are still waiting in Central Park with the sled. A cub scout named Jimmy (Jonathan Morgan Heit) comes across them)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, somebody finally comes across the sleigh in Central Park...I think all their antlers and hooves were probably been stolen by this point...and the reindeer tell the kid they're looking for Santa.
Reindeer: We need you to find Santa Claus for us.
Jimmy: (salutes) As a member of the 23rd Street Junior Wilderness...
NC: (as a reindeer, waves off) Aw, okay, never mind. (addresses somebody offscreen) Hey, homeless guy, can you help us find Santa?
Chester: (offscreen) Can I?!
(As the night falls, Quinn first sees Paws, and she secretly takes him to a janitor's closet in the orphanage)
NC (vo): Paws, of course, meets up with the orphanage and talks with Quinn, who says she can lead him to Santa.
Quinn: We can sleep here tonight, and l can help you look for Santa tomorrow.
NC: Aw, come on. Can't one of them catch fire or something? It feels weird if none of them are suffering!
NC (vo): Meanwhile, Paws tries to make things more festive.
(Using the crystal, Paws makes several Christmas decorations appear in the closet)
Quinn: (surprised) Paws!
NC: (as Quinn) You made this room...2% more magical.
(Cut to Santa and Kate in the Hucklebuckle Toys shop the next day)
NC (vo): Santa's doing a great job bringing more people into the store and reveals the reason why.
Santa: Someone once told me that the spirit of Christmas is embodied in the hearts of children, untouched as yet by the fears, doubts and disappointments of the adult world.
NC: (as Santa) Somebody else told me it was Jesus, but I think he was drunk.
(Quinn takes Paws to Hucklebuckle. But unfortunately, Paws wanders in at the one time Santa went for a break and James took over for him)
NC (vo): Quinn and Paws sneak out of the orphanage, but (in a sarcastic tone) what bad luck! Santa just happens to be on a break and wasn't there!
Paws: (to Quinn) That's not the real Santa.
NC: (as Paws) I watch Netflix. I know he looks like the guy from Big Trouble in Little China!
(Jimmy finds the real Santa in the store and sits on his lap to tell his sleigh is still in the park)
NC (vo): But the little boy comes across Santa and says his reindeer are waiting.
Santa: l don't know if I'm the real Santa Claus or not. (takes out a pin and gives it to Jimmy) But here's a pin to thank you for your persistence. l believe someone very special gave it to me.
NC: (as Santa) So I'm giving it to a kid who could easily be lying to me. (normal) This Santa is kind of dumb in this. Anyone else noticed?
(Cut to the orphanage, where Quinn presents Paws to the other girls and they can understand him, too, with the exception of Will)
NC (vo): The girls at the orphanage see Paws and understand him perfectly, but Willamina doesn't believe in Santa, so all she hears is barking.
Quinn: You gotta believe, Will, just listen.
(The girls start singing an upbeat song about their belief in Christmas and the Christmas spirit)
Janie: (singing with a plunger as a mic) Whenever I hear a Christmas song, I wanna...
NC: (to someone off-screen, pointing at the camera) Miss Stout, they're singing in there. Please burn them.
NC (vo): Because, sure. This matches the depressing-as-hell atmosphere we've had throughout most of the movie.
Girls: (singing, dancing around Will) I do believe in Christmas, / I believe in love...
NC (vo; as the girls): (singing) It's a tone-deaf life for us, where we talk about death most of the time.
(Suddenly, Paws' crystal glows, decorating the entire room with Christmas ornaments, a Christmas tree and even transforms the pajamas of the girls into princess-like dresses)
Girls: (still singing) ...for you and me! / I do believe in Christmas...
NC: Yeah, it's odd to say, but this upbeat song sequence surprisingly doesn't go with Santa Paws.
NC (vo): Most of it was weirdly mellow and downbeat, and now, suddenly, we're supposed to be like The Greatest Showman on The Polar Express.
NC: This looks less like the majority of the movie we got and more like a Disney Princess commercial.
(The scenes of the song number after the transformation are played again, but between them we cut to clips from a Disney Princess commercial with the advertising narration on top)
Female Announcer: Imagine discovering royal treasures and entering the world of Disney Princess. (singing) Dreams do come true. / You’re like a Disney Princess, dressing up head to toe. / Beautiful gown, sparkly slippers, / Tiara, wand, jewels and glow...
NC (vo; as the announcer): Now you can own a Disney Princess, unless your caretaker finds her and burns her alive in the furnace. All this goes together. You're wrong if you don't think so.
(Ms. Stout finally wakes up and discovers the decorated sleeping room of the girls. She confiscates Pawn's icicle and takes him together with Will into the basement)
NC (vo): Sure enough, Ms. Stout comes in and thinks Willamina started all of this and takes away the dog's gem.
Stout: Clean up this mess and take off those ridiculous dresses. Now!
NC: (as Ms. Stout) I won't mention the impossible way you could have gotten the room like this. Just take those dresses off, it's so Macy's!
NC (vo): She also finds Quinn's Christmas ornament and takes it away.
Quinn: My mom gave that to me. Please, give it back!
Stout: No! Now get upstairs, before you end up in the basement, too.
NC: (as Ms. Stout, "holding the ornament") I’m sending it to my dungeon for Christmas toys. Tell me I don't have that!
(Will is sitting under the stairs of the basement with Paws keeping her company)
Will: (singing, saddened) Why don't I believe...
NC: (satisfied again) There's the depressing-as-hell tone I'm familiar with in this movie.
NC (vo): Good Lord, for a second, I almost thought about liking something.
(Cut to the Hucklebuckles' toy shop, where Santa is still working, but he isn't feeling well)
Kate: Bud, are you okay? It's...it's almost 9:15.
NC (vo): Santa's feeling ill at the shop, but it looks like he's needed to be on camera.
James: Thank goodness. ABC wants to do a quick interview with you on your break today.
NC: (as Santa) Oh, ABC. Aren't they owned by Disney now? (Sudden cut to a more creepy-smiling NC) Everything's owned by Disney now.
(Santa collapses on his way to his work chair, and back at the orphanage, Paws has turned back into a stuffed toy)
NC (vo): Not only do the kids get to see Santa Claus pass out on the verge of death, but we also get this nice little moment.
Will: (holding the lifeless Paws) Paws? (realizes his state of being) Paws! AHHHHHHHH!
NC: (as Will, hugging himself in despair) Everything I love dies! Everything I love dies! Everything I love dies!
(Ms. Stout has brought her boyfriend Franklin (a dog catcher from before) to take the dog away, but only finds the toy, which she of course wants to destroy)
Stout: You give me that dog!
Will: No! Let go of him! Stop!
(Stout takes Paws away, as the other girls are watching, and she throws him in the furnace and activates it. NC is stunned again by the harsh tone of the movie and plays his song routine again to lighten the mood)
NC: (nervously singing) Santa Paws, Santa Paws, I don't know where toy's souls go when they burn!
NC (vo): So, just to recap: Santa dying, children crying, dog burning.
NC: Sounds like the cover to a Nine Inch Nails album.
(The logo of the band Nine Inch Nails is shown in the upper right corner with the things he just said written under it as an album name. Back to the movie, Eli and Eddy find Gus and get Santa's crystal back. They then rush to the orphanage to save Paws from his absolute demise)
NC (vo): Eli, the head elf, locates the orphanage and finds both Santa and Paws are fading away because their necklace crystals are gone. He gets one back from the homeless guy who stole it, who now wants to help, and they need to get the other crystal to Paws before he (in a more menacing tone) burns!
(Quinn climbs into the furnace and tries to save Paws)
Quinn: I have to save Paws!
(Paws stops before he falls into the flames (in other movies clichéd, here a miracle) and Quinn manages to pull him out of the furnace)
NC: (as Eli) Good news, only his head burned off! He didn't need that, right?
(Paws gets the crystal back, resurrects, and Will, Quinn, Eli, Gus, Eddy and Paws are entering the Hucklebuckles' store)
NC (vo): They get him the crystal, and Paws comes back to life. They go to Hucklebuckles and let the owners know what's going on.
Eddy: Santa lost his magic crystal. (The Hucklebuckles are surprised) And his health must have been deteriorating ever since.
James: That dog is talking.
Paws: I see you believe in the Christmas spirit.
NC: Or that acid you had this morning takes a while to kick in.
(When Ms. Stout wants to enter her orphanage, she meets Miss Gibson (Kathryn Kirkpatrick) who puts an end to Stout's cruelty and takes over the orphanage)
NC (vo): They call the social worker to have Ms. Stout removed from the kids, which, of course, calls for a Home Alone stunt...
(Ms. Stout knocks back her boyfriend Franklin and she falls down the stairs, landing on him)
NC: Honestly, I'm surprised that's the only one they have in this movie.
(The Hucklebuckles, Gus, Quinn and Will are taking Santa outside the hospital and put him inside an ambulance to drive him back in the shop)
NC (vo): ...and the others go to take Santa from the hospital to the North Pole. (laughs) The security in this place is as good the one in Halloween 2. Lord knows Michael Myers would surprisingly fit in this experiment of hopeless misery.
Kate: (to Eli) Is he gonna be okay?
(Eli, who is dressed as a doctor and makes a checkup on Santa, shakes his head on the verge of tears)
Quinn: Is Santa going to die?
(Eli's reaction pretty much says "Yes, he will die")
NC: (arms crossed, frustrated) The Search for Santa Paws just asked that question! What is wrong with you?!
NC (vo): But Paws offers up his crystal, knowing it will slowly turn him back into a toy.
(Santa is back in full health and has regained his memory, but Paws has already turned back into a toy)
NC (vo; singing depressingly): We wish you a Merry Christmas.
Santa: (to everyone in the shop) We have to get back to the North Pole at once. Only the great Christmas icicle can save Paws now.
NC: You know, that actor is doing a good job when he could say that line without making me laugh.
(Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus bring Paws before the great icicle, the icicle unleashes its magic, and...nothing happens to Paws)
NC (vo): So they do exactly that, but it seems like it doesn't work. Oh, in any other movie, I would say this is a fake-out, but in this one, who goddamn knows?
(Santa cries some tears, which fill the room with magic and resurrect Paws as a full grown dog voiced by Mitchel Musso)
NC (vo): They pull a Pokémon: The First Movie, though, and Santa’s tears somehow bring him back to life. And on steroids, apparently.
Santa: From now on, your name will be Santa Paws.
Santa Paws: Now we really can be best friends for all eternity, Santa Claus. (Santa laughs in joy)
NC: Just then, the icicle breaks and kills them all. (points at the camera) Hey, you know this movie would do that!
(In the orphanage, the Hucklebuckles are adopting Quinn and Will)
NC (vo): Quinn and Willamina are, of course, adopted by the Hucklebuckles, and everyone seems happy.
Gibson: They need a home.
Kate: I think that is the greatest Christmas present I could ever imagine.
NC: Notice she said "think", she could still probably come up with a few things.
(Back at the workshop, the stray dogs are helping preparing the Christmas presents, as Santa Claus and Santa Paws are boarding the sleigh)
NC (vo): So the other dogs become honorary elves, and Santa goes on his Christmas sleigh ride.
Santa: This is most joyous. There's Christmas magic to spread. Let's do this together, Santa Paws.
NC: (as Santa) Your blank expression reflects all the Christmas magic this movie could muster.
(Back to the toy shop for one last time, as Mr. Stewart checks on the Hucklebuckless and their business)
NC (vo): Even wise black man makes one more appearance.
Stewart: I trust you two have had an eventful Christmas season.
(Quinn and Will are coming in)
Kate: Oh, Mr. Stewart, these are the newest edition to our family. That's Will, and this is Quinn.
NC: (as Stewart) Christ, you pushed those out fast!
NC (vo): So the Hucklebuckles now own the store and they decide to keep it open.
Stewart: (to the sky, probably to the old Hucklebuckle) Merry Christmas. You got your wish.
NC (vo; as Stewart): That's right, I talk to signs. It'll be the name of our next sequel. Sign Buddies. The script was halfway written the minute I breathed that. This was the weirdest thing I've ever been in.
(The film ends)
NC: And that was The Search for Santa Paws. I'll admit...it's not at all what I was expecting.
(The restaurant scene from A Christmas Story Live is shown, where the owner asks as followed)
Owner: What were you expecting?
NC: (as Mr. Parker) I don't know.
(Scenes from the movie play again, as NC gives his closing thoughts)
NC (vo): I do give credit for it trying to be a little bit harsher than what people would think it was gonna be. I even liked a lot of the actors in it, particularly the guy who plays Santa, who you might have noticed in a lot of character roles in the past. (Images of two of Richard Riehle's characters, Reverend Scroggins from Fried Green Tomatoes and Tom Smykowski from Office Space, are shown) But...it's still not very good, mostly because a lot of those heavy moments have to be followed by a charming story that can support it, and this story reads like, well, a cheesy direct-to-DVD spin-off. Nevertheless, it was a little better than I thought it had any right to be, but it had the right to be a soulless corporate shell, so take that for what it's worth. This is a bizarre special that wasn't as bad as I thought, but still bad. I doubt people are gonna stop watching it anytime soon, so it truly seems like every dog has its Christmas day.
NC: But, Jesus, did it have to be that harsh? I mean, it's The Search for Santa Paws. It’s like putting Nazis in Nutcracker, it just makes no sense. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remem- (Starts to leave his seat, until he completely stops in place for a few seconds) What are we reviewing next week?
(The ending credits play)
Channel Awesome tagline - Quinn: Is Santa going to die?