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Still shot from the movie: 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue.

12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue

When Emma (Danielle Chuchran) returns to Doverville to attend a funeral, she discovers the passing of her friend has left in jeopardy her dog orphanage. Joining forces with her friend's son (Skyler Holman), the pair set out to rescue the puppies. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: A- 4.5
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: A-
Language: A
Drugs/Alcohol: A-
Run Time: 102
Theater Release:
Video Release: 09 Oct 2012
MPAA Rating: PG
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Six years ago, owning a dog in Doverville was against the law. But that all changed when a determined young girl came to the small town and put on an elaborate Christmas show (as seen in the 2005 movie The 12 Dogs of Christmas). Full of fun songs, and with a name inspired by a popular Christmas poem, Emma O’Connor (Danielle Chuchran) succeeded in teaching some old dogs new tricks and touched the hearts of the whole community.

Now, a teenage Emma is returning to Doverville, but for a more sombre reason. This time, she has arrived to attend the funeral of her close friend and mentor Mrs. Stevens. To make matters worse, Mrs. Stevens’ son Mikey (Skyler Holman) has inherited his mother’s dog orphanage and the large mortgage that goes with the run down farm that houses fifty homeless canines. After surviving a devastating car accident, the young man is helpless to pay off the debt. Determined to save his mother’s dream, even if it means putting his own college plans on the line, Mikey enlists Emma’s help in raising funds to rescue the struggling shelter.

But things only get more complicated when she realizes a local businessman, Finneas James (Sean Patrick Flanery) means to buy the farm and replace it with a dog racing track. Used to being the top dog in town, this villain will stop at nothing in achieving his goal. Mr. James does his best to hinder Emma’s money raising ventures by using less than legal means, and employing a host of nefarious townsfolk.

In search of inspiration, Emma looks up some old acquaintances from her visit to Doverville six years before. These include a supportive network of high school girls who convince Emma to re-stage the fantastic Christmas production of her childhood. And so, Emma begins a new and improved version of The 12 Dogs of Christmas, designing a musical show that casts both the students and the fluffy canines from the Stevens’ orphanage.

Getting the show off the ground will take a lot of community support so Emma turns to an eccentric actress turned fortune teller named Zoe (Heather Beers) who proves herself a valuable ally. She also wins over the boys’ basketball team, and leaves a lasting impression on a particularly flirtatious star player named Walker (James Gaisford).

The movie depicts Emma’s interaction with these different characters in a very positive way, and offers good examples of cooperation and friendship. Even more impressive is Emma’s mature response to the growing attention of both Mikey and Walker, which shows consideration and sense; things sadly missing from the puppy love depicted in most films for young audiences.  Although the teenage concerns of the protagonists and some frightening material, including a car accident and a burning building, make this film better suited to older children, The 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue is still a warm and fuzzy friend for the holidays.

12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue is rated PG: for mild thematic elements including an accident.

Director: Kieth Merrill
Cast: Danielle Chuchran, Skyler Holman, Sean Patrick Flanery, B.D. Sweeney, Alli Simpson
Studio: 2012 Sony Pictures
Website: Official site for 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue.

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About the Reviewer: Bethany Gustafson

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