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Review: Mediocre storytelling grounds animated ‘Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer’

Can plucky equine Elliot (voiced by Josh Hutcherson), with the help of tin can-eating goat sidekick Hazel (Samantha Bee), best his caribou competitors to replace Blitzen (Martin Short), who’s retiring to open — no joke — a juice bar? Can Elliot, donning fake antlers, really pass as a reindeer for the North Pole tryouts? Will mechanical sleighs replace Santa’s need for reindeer altogether? Can Santa’s top elf (also Short) really be trusted? Will the egregiously underused, Cruella de Vil-like Ludzinka (Short, for the triple) turn Elliot’s farm/petting zoo home into a beef jerky factory? Will the film’s intended kid audience connect with any of this?

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