“Olive, the Other Reindeer” – Review

Drawn Barrymore

Based on the popular children’s book by Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold, this brilliant Groening-ization is one of my favorite Christmas specials, ranking right up there with The Grinch and Peanuts.

Drew Barrymore, Dan Castellaneta, Joe Pantoliano, Jay Mohr, Ed Asner and even R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe voice the witty, wacky and whimsical writing that will keep you laughing for the entire 45 minutes.

Problems arise when Blitzen gets hurt and Santa remarks that they’ll see if they can’t get by with “all of the other reindeer.”

Olive (Barrymore), a sweet pooch who’s not interested in normal doggie stuff, misunderstands and believes that Santa is asking for “Olive, the other reindeer” and answers the call while trying to stay a step ahead of an evil mailman (Castellaneta) who’s threatened to “hand cancel” her.

The 2D/3D animation is really something to see. While the backgrounds are animated in beautiful computer 3D, the characters stay flat and the end result is simply fascinating to watch.

The songs are a joy as well. My Favorite Day, The Postman Song, We’re Not So Bad (the best as far as I’m concerned) and Merry Christmas After All all keep you singing them for at least a day or so afterwards.

Of course there’s plenty of hidden humor throughout that rewards you for paying close attention (keep an eye out for Quadruped Gap) and some just plain odd moments with an angry bunny.

What impresses me most though is how the movie perfectly balances subversive Simpsons style silliness with a sweetness that often catches you off guard. When Olive first attempts flying with the reindeer you really do find yourself hoping beyond hope that this little dog can actually fly.

Please give Olive, the Other Reindeer a look this holiday season. I think you’ll discover, as I did, a new Christmas classic.