Dec 7, 2014

Review: Alone for Christmas (2013)

I always thought The Asylum had a pretty good thing going on with their mockbusters. It basically entails riding the coattails of a major blockbuster with a similar title and plot and then tricking people into watching their movies. It's all pretty low, but makes at least a little bit of business sense. I think they're realizing that people are wising up to their scheme though and it looks to me like their releasing more "original" movies with some trademark mockbusters thrown in for good measure too.

Alone for Christmas is one of those "original" movies. Kevin Sorbo who's been in some garbage of his own somehow was convinced that being in this movie would be worth his while. Most of the budget probably even went to him. It's a good thing that he took the role though and I should probably write him a Christmas thank you card for doing it. I honestly don't know what I would've done without him.

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Genre: action, comedy, family
Directed by: Joseph J. Lawson
Produced by: David Michael Latt, David Rimawi, Paul Bales, etc.
Written by: Nancy Leopardi
Music by: Chris Ridenhour
Running time: 84 minutes
Production company: The Asylum
Distributed by: The Asylum, ADS Service, Free Dolphin Entertainment
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: David DeLuise, Kim Little, Davis Cleveland, Natalie Jane, Jeremy Mascia, John Kenward, Justin Hoffmeister, Kevin Sorbo, Bill Pomeroy, Gerald Webb, John Kenward, Kevin Yarbrough, James Williams

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Synopsis


It's Christmas Eve and the owners of two dogs, Bone (voice: Bill Pomeroy) and Columbus (voice: Gerald Webb) are leaving to visit grandparents. Columbus is relatively new to the family and sees it as his duty to be a watchdog when he probably shouldn't. His most recent attempt puts Bone in the doghouse which prompts the family to leave him in a kennel while they're gone. Before the departure, Bone and Columbus figure out that there's a plot to rob their house by some smelly thieves while they're gone, unbeknowst to their owners.

Review


Alone for Christmas can be best summed up as a talking animal movie ripoff of Home Alone. So you can understand why I put the quotation marks on original when talking about The Asylum's recent body of work. While Home Alone is charming in its way and one of my childhood favourites, AfC is bullheaded in its stupidity and completely nonsensical in its logic. It is a movie that made me question whether I wanted to watch the wall beside me instead of what was on the TV.

The voice acting for the dogs is really bad and the CGI work to make the dogs' mouths move is equally bad and unprofessionally done. There's actually a surprising amount of CGI work besides the dogs in Alone for Christmas. All of it is unbearable to look at and all of it is done for lazy reasons. Too much effort to properly film a scene? OK, do it with CGI instead. Even the scenes where we see the family traveling in their Toyota Highlander is clearly shot inside of a studio or a closed lot because what's outside the windows is all white. The family is simply pretending to be in a moving vehicle.

Human actors are also really bad and for the most part have some of the most deadpan deliveries you can imagine. It honestly looks like they read their lines a minute ago and then tried their best to remember them the best they could. I'm not sure there's even a director overseeing the performances at all. Just a cameraman who's there to watch these actors fail.

However, I was genuinely taken aback by Kevin Sorbo's performance. It's probably all due to the absolute non-talent around him, but Sorbo rolls with the punches and actually looks like he's having fun with this awfulness. His delivery is spot on and it's clear that his experience in being in a lot of bad movies is paying off. All I can say is that I'm glad he was in this because he made the scenes he was in easier to choke down.

Probably the worst thing about Alone for Christmas is just how downright insulting it is. It's insulting for fully-functioning adults, for young children and probably even for fetuses too. Yes, it is insulting to the unborn. I'm not sure if scriptwriter Nancy Leopardi even understands the concept of logic. How does a doll that's wrapped up start talking all on its own? If it were a Furby I would understand, but it isn't. How on earth does a dog scratch at some floorboards enough to make them weak enough to buckle under weight in just a few seconds of work? There are some other examples I could give but I'll leave it at that. Go discover at your own risk.

Alone for Christmas is lazy, rushed, unfunny, illogical and I don't know anyone who should be wasting their time with this one. It's not a movie that's bad in a good way nor is it bad in a sappy Christmas movie way either. It should be avoided at all costs. Alone for Christmas makes some of Asylum's other mockbusters look like masterpieces in comparison which is no mean feat. It's a 1/10 movie that gets an entire .5 all because of Kevin Sorbo's performance which is pretty impressive if you ask me. Maybe hardcore Sorbo fans will get a kick out of AfC?

Rating


1.5/10