Beethoven is a celebrity dog, in town to shoot a commercial, so if you’re wondering where the original family is, Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt et. al are presumably at home, doing the holiday thing while Beethoven gets that bread. In this movie, Mason and his Mom are in charge of the dog, who proves he’s not just a film and television star, but also part Lassie.
You see, Santa has newly appointed an elf in charge of reindeer, but he’s not much of an animal lover, and things go awry. Dumped out of Santa’s sleigh, Henry the elf ends up in a tree, but luckily for him, Beethoven alerts humans to his predicament.
Meanwhile, Beethoven’s stay in town has been extended so he can be the grand marshal in their parade. Which is lucky, because Henry the elf’s story is pretty unbelievable, and Beethoven is the only one who believes him. Is the matter helped by Henry’s ability to understand dog? Or by Beethoven being voiced by Tom Arnold? For some reason, Mason thinks Henry is crazy when he claims to be Santa’s elf, but when he’s Santa’s elf AND can communicate with dogs, well he takes that as two incontrovertible pieces of evidence rather than corroboration that he is indeed nuts.
For some reason, this movie also has a couple of villains: toy thieves/scammers who steal all the toys and then charge parents extortionate rates for them. And the cackle evilly for good measure. It just so happens that Santa’s magic toy sac, which tumbled out of the sleigh when Henry did, ends up in their possession as well. Another job for Beethoven? You betcha!
This movie is not exactly good, and certainly not a holiday classic, but if your family likes cute dogs and fart jokes, then throw in some hot chocolate and the lights from a Christmas tree, and you might have a pleasant-ish holiday night in.