The Santa Clause 2

"OK"

The Santa Clause 2 Review


At least one of the seven credited writers of the sequel-for-sequel's-sake holiday kiddie flick "The Santa Clause 2" clearly felt obliged to try to remedy the picture's contemptibly contrived premise by writing some really funny dialogue. And at least for-hire director Michael Lembeck (a sitcom vet making his screen debut) managed to infuse the movie with a fun, touching, sweet spirit.

But these acts are akin to Christmas miracles, coming as they do under the burden of a plot -- scratch that, a gimmick -- that revolves around finding even more fine print on the calling card of a dead St. Nick, which turned divorced suburban dad Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) into Santa Claus in the original family comedy from 1994.

It seems the elves waited eight years to inform their new Santa that he has until this Christmas to find a Mrs. Claus -- or else. "The de-Santafication process has already begun," frets head elf Bernard (David Krumholtz) as he shoos Scott off to find a wife. Meanwhile cherubic techie-elf Curtis (played by Spencer Breslin, one of those child actors who runs all his lines together without taking a breath or showing a hint of inflection) clones a big, rubbery toy Santa automaton (played by Allen in heavy prosthetic makeup) to stand in for Scott (unconvincingly) so the other elves won't learn of his predicament and panic at his absence.

Back home in the 'burbs, Scott's teenage son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) has been acting out enough to have 1) landed on Santa's naughty list and 2) landed Scott in the principal's office for a parental pow-wow along with Charlie's mom (Wendy Crewson) and dorky shrink stepdad (Judge Reinhold).

But lo and behold, Principle Carol Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell, "Nurse Betty") is a beautiful but cold and inflexible woman just aching to be warmed with a little Christmas magic.

The rest of that storyline doesn't always go to all the obvious places, and thanks to Mitchell's perfectly played heart-thawing, her inevitable romance with Scott has a lot of charm. It's just unfortunate that "Clause 2" spends half of its time back at the North Pole where Toy Santa has turned into a tyrant who builds himself a giant tin soldier army to enforce his will and plans to put coal in everyone's stocking.

The movie plays out as if the smart screenwriters, who cared about making a family matinee that would entertain kids and parents alike, spent the entire production battling the more insipid screenwriters and studio heads who cared about nothing more than quickly cranking out a guaranteed cash cow. For every clever scene (a dull school faculty Christmas party is brought to life by Scott's delivery of Rock'em Sock'em Robots and other cherished childhood toys) or hilarious line of dialogue ("Look in my eyes. What do you see?" Principal Newman glares at a misbehaving student. "It's dark," he shudders in reply, "and it's cold."), there's a cavernous plot hole, a hackneyed story device (Santa's running out of magic!) or some obscenely gratuitous product placement for McDonald's.

Ultimately the good screenwriters eke out a very small victory, aided by enjoyable performances from Allen and especially Mitchell, who does a miraculous job of selling both her personality transformation and her often insipid dialogue as if she really felt every word of it. Their courtship scenes, which are the fulcrum of the movie, feel fairly unscripted up to the point where Scott has to tell Carol what he does for a living. That's when the bad screenwriters seem to wrest control again.

But "The Santa Clause 2" gets by enough on its seasonal charm and (literally) half-decent dialogue to recommend as an afternoon distraction that will -- just barely -- keep the whole family smiling.



The Santa Clause 2

Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st November 2002

Box Office USA: $139.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $139.2M

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 51

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Scott Calvin / Santa Clause, as Principal Carol Newman, as Bernard, der Elf, as Charlie Calvin, as Curtis, as Dr. Neil Miller, as Laura Calvin Miller, Kevin Pollak as Cupid, as Mother Nature, as Tracy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.