Scoot and Kassie’s Christmas Adventure is less of an adventure and more of a romp, a dull Christian romp to be exact. Lured by the promise of dad Luke Perry, I wasted a sunny spring Friday on a subpar Christmas movie for small children. Only the very littles will enjoy seeing this film about kids and a dog who fundraise for charity while also foiling some bad guys. I’d opt for one of a dozen other holiday classics or something else in the Luke Perry catalogue if you’re going in that direction.
The Scoot and Kassie of this Christmas adventure are a police dog and ten year old girl, respectively. The movie opens with Scoot chasing down a pair of bank robbers. He gets ensnared in some barbed wire but, being the intelligent pup that he is, escapes and finds his way to Kassie (Ariana Bagley). She’s just moved into town with her teenage sister, Esther (Camrey Bagley Fox), and hot widowed dad, Paul (Perry). Bullied by the rich kids and the boy who pounds her face with a dodgeball, she finds a kindred spirit in Scoot and surreptitiously brings him home.
A stray dog is the last thing Paul needs. His job as the bank’s new manager is off to a shaky start and only gets worse when he unwittingly hires the robbers as security guards. He also struggles to bring in donations for the Toys for Tots drive and fears the shortfall will result in a lot of sad kids on Christmas Day. Scoot may be the lucky charm Paul and his family are looking for though, and the friendly canine starts to turn the holidays around for them and the whole town.
There’s plenty of wholesome, G-rated content if that’s what you’re looking for, though not much of a Christmas ambiance. The scariest thing may be Scoot getting a bloodied by the barbed wire. Otherwise, the criminal element is like something lifted out of a cartoon. The robbers pose a minimal threat and are the kind who might be taken down by a bunch of Nerf guns. Kassie’s classmates are more vicious come to think of it, and damn, these mean girls start young. Unlike real life though, a church choir sing-along will mend broken, abusive relationships, and Kassie uses her musical talents to win over the other kids and save the Toys for Tots program. Also for good measure, everyone huddles in a prayer circle when things get really rough.
The story’s simplicity will appeal to some, but I thought it too saccharine even for children. The whole bullying issue, for example, gets an easy pass. The movie puts it down to a matter of character, and Kassie’s spunk rather than an adult stepping in is what resolves the conflict. One thing that does deserve credit though is the acting, and it’s solid across the board. The adults strike the right tone and the kids avoid preening too much for the cameras. There’s also a lovely Christmas tune, a bonus for making it through this movie.
“The World is Ours”:
Alt Titles: K-9 Adventures: A Christmas Tale
Prod: T.R. Gourley, David M. Wulf
Dir: Ben Gourley
Writer: Ben Gourley
Cast: Luke Perry, Ariana Bagley, Taylor Negron, Jake Suazo, Camrey Bagley Fox, Lillian Hepler, Adam Johnson, James Andrews
Time: 86 min
Lang: English, some French
Country: United States