Stars: Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Annalynne McCord, Paige, Eric Keenleyside, Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Geoff Gustafson, Tom McLaren | Written by James Robert Johnston, Bennett Yellin | Directed by Gil Junger
The WWE have made a name for themselves in the movie world with a spate of well-recieved action and horror movies, however that’s not the only types of filmic fare they’ve put their name to. Back in the burgeoning days of WWE Studios, the company put out a number of comedies and family-friendly films that – looking at the WWE’s cinematic landscape today – don’t quite fit the mold they have built for themselves.
Yet whilst the WWE have found financial and critical success with genre fare such as No One Lives, The Call, See No Evil 2 and Oculus, they haven’t forgot their family-friendly beginnings – producing animated movies with Hanna Barbera featuring WWE Superstars alongside iconic cartoon characters such as Scooby Doo and The Flintstones and a couple of Christmas movies: last years sequel to the Arnold Schwarzenegger Xmas flick Jingle All the Way and the 2013 TV movie Christmas Bounty featuring reality star turned wrestler, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin.
Keeping up their now-yearly tradition, this years Christmas movie from the WWE is Santa’s Little Helper – a Christmas Carol-esque tale about redemption, finding oneself, helping your fellow man, and becoming Santa’s right-hand man… You know the usual Christmas miracles!
Santa’s Little Helper tells the story of Dax “The Axe” (The Miz), a slick-talking and ruthless businessman who, after being fired from his job, is given the chance of a lifetime – to be Santa’s second-in-command, his Ho-Ho-Ho as they call the job. But to earn the coveted position, he has to complete a series of tests to measure his character, all under the watchful eye of Billie (McCord), Santa’s personal trainer and the only round-eared elf at the North Pole; ears which let her pass for a “normie” (the nickname given to humans by Santa and his elves) in our world. Of course the course of redemption of Dax doesn’t run quite as smoothly as he, or Billie expect – even less so when it turns out Dax must, after impressing Santa, must also wage an outrageous battle against a scheming elf (Paige) who wants the job – which previously belonged to her father – for herself!
If you can’t tell from that description, Santa’s Little Helper is something of a mix of A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life; and like those films, the story relies heavily on the cast to carry the cliched tale. Thankfully The Miz, whose role within the WWE is to be the biggest douchebag going, is actually a very likeable actor, bringing more of his own personality to the role of Dax. As for Paige, well she’s Paige – but the efl version of her WWE character, with the same arrogant attitude and loud mouth – kids will easily recognise her even with the pointy ears! But the real star of the film is Annalynne McCord, who drops all pretenses to play the sweetest, spunkiest (and dare I say sexiest – you should see her in her training outfit at the beginning of the movie) elf I’ve ever seen. Considering I always picture McCord as the disturbed Pauline from Richard Bates’ Excision, seeing her as a cute elf is something of a shock.
OK, soSanta’s Little Helper isn’t going to win any awards for originality but as a Christmas movie, and especially a family-friendly one, this film does a stellar job. It’s plot may be a little thin on the ground but kids, big and small, will undoubtedly love this fun and funny flick.
Santa’s Little Helper is out now on DVD.