After mis-hearing a radio broadcast about Santa canceling his Christmas trip due to an injured reindeer, Olive the dog decides to travel to the North Pole and volunteer to be a replacement. Unfortunately, Olive must deal with an evil postman who's tired of handling all the extra Christmas mail. Will Martini the penguin be able to help Olive realize her dream?Written by
If you've just noticed 1999's "Olive, the Other Reindeer" in your TV listings (as I did last night)and are checking it out on IMDb, I heartily recommend it. The script and characters do not ring any of the false notes that usually undo other Christmas fare. The cute story will keep kids interested, but is peppered with references and visual gags for grownups.
Drew Barrymore gives a plucky-not-sucky performance as Olive, and keeps her character's likability from turning sappy. Joe Pantoliano (Ralphie in "The Sopranos"!) as her shady-but-good-hearted sidekick Martini the penguin is a likeable Runyonesque pal. Michael "R.E.M" Stipe contributes a wry musical highlight in the bar scene. Dan "Homer" Castellaneta makes a fine villainous postman, and the other voice artists too numerous to mention here are also first-rate.
The 2D-in-3D computerized animation is highly imaginative but not gimmicky.
"Olive" is as enjoyable as any holiday entertainment since "A Christmas Story". Like that film, word-of-mouth should keep "Olive" around for many Christmases to come.
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