I have no vendetta against Disney. The first film that made me cry in the theater was Bambi, and one of the first that made me want to leap out of my seat and cheer was The Rescuers. Clearly Disney has had a hand on the pulse (if not an actual stent in the artery) of American Pop Culture for some time now. But by now the Disney product is akin to Monsanto engineered mono-cultural grain than a good old beautiful ear of Indian Corn (if you'll excuse the racist label) and I don't want to buy it. And when it comes to straight-to-DVD Disney product, 20 packets of Top Ramen for a dollar sounds more nourishing.
The Snow Buddies are five adorable golden retriever pups living an idyllic life in small-town Washington, enjoying their cozy lives and silly stereotypes. From the bling-wearing hip-hop pup to the princess puppy, most of the kid genotypes youngsters will identify with are represented. The buddies accidentally wind up on one of those commonplace ice-cream freezer containers routinely dropped into the Alaskan wilderness, and quickly find themselves shacked up with a sled-dog puppy and his boy who are just foaming at the mouth to put together a sled-dog team to win the local race and salvage their dad's ego from a previous ill-fated race. I'm not a rich man, so I won't offer any money to those who can guess whether this scrappy group of pups is able to get it together and win the race. Suffice it to say we'll all be eating Monsanto corn soon enough, whether we like it or not.
Aside from being utterly predictable and extremely cloying, there's nothing at all wrong with Snow Buddies. Previous complaints aside, my main problem as an adult watching this was that I didn't get enough of a view into the lives of small-town Alaskans, possibly the only thing that would have held my interest. But I'm not the target audience am I? Impressionable 8-year-olds will get their fill of that not-untoward message that positivity, effort and love will always out, but they'll also be force-fed a bunch of pretty bland, engineered crud passing as humor, characterization and plot - none of it slightly objectionable, unless you dislike the odd fart joke.
I'm not even going to go as far as giving a strong endorsement or rejection of Snow Buddies. And I'll tell you why. Snow Buddies is completely passable entertainment for your child old enough to sit through a feature film. Though worked over to a fare-thee-well so as to smooth away all burs of originality or challenge, its message is ultimately benign, and who doesn't love puppies? Even puppies who talk in obnoxious adolescent voices? It's a perfect film in front of which to plop the moppets, just save your sanity and sit in the other room, or at least have a goblet of chilled Pinot Grigio (yeah, I'm talking to you) on hand to numb the pain. But here's the trick, do not bring this into your home unless the kids request it. They'll let you know soon after if it needs to be a part of the collection.