The Santa Clause 2

Synopsis: Tim Allen reappears in Santa Clause 2, the hilarious sequel to everybody’s holiday favorite. Scott Calvin (Allen) has been Santa Claus for the past eight years, and his loyal elves consider him the best one ever. But Scott’s got problems. His son Charlie has landed on this year’s “naughty” list, and if Scott doesn’t marry by Christmas Eve — one very, very short month away — he’ll stop being Santa forever. Embracing Christmas and the magic of family with heart, warmth, fun and charm, Santa Clause 2 is classic holiday entertainment everybody will enjoy again and again.

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The Santa Clause 2 7.5

eyelights: its more mature script. its cast. its sets.
eyesores: its militaristic opening. its action finale. its CGI.

“I have to get married?” “Yes. It’s the Mrs. clause.”

The Santa Clause‘ was a big box office hit back in 1994, launching Tim Allen’s silver screen career. Surprisingly enough, though, it took a full eight years for a sequel to be delivered to the masses.

Maybe Allen was too busy with his career? Or maybe he needed a sure-fire hit after a number of misfires?

Either way, ‘The Santa Clause 2’ came out in 2002 and was also a hit (albeit a smaller one). It brought back all of the main cast of its predecessor and re-situated them eight years after the events of the original.

By this point, Scott Calvin is enjoying his gig as Santa Claus and he’s very popular with kids all around the world. But he’s now faced with two crises: 1) Charlie is on the naughty list, and 2) he has to get married.

Yes, married.

Here’s the thing: for some reason the elves didn’t pay attention to the fine print in the Santa clause and only just now realized that Scott has to have a Mrs. Claus in order for him to continue being Santa.

And there are only 28 days left to Christmas!

If Scott doesn’t get married ASAP, not only does he stop being Santa (and he’s already starting to “de-Santa-fy”), but there won’t be a Santa this year (perhaps even ever!); Christmas will be have to be cancelled.

To take care of both crises, however, he’ll need to leave the North Pole at a truly critical moment. So, with the help of Curtis the Elf, he creates a toy version of himself to fill in for him until his return.

Now, forget the fact that there have been Santas before, so the elves should have known better. Forget the fact that Santa can easily be replaced (as evidenced in the first film). Forget the fact that getting married is easy.

(It’s Love that’s hard!)

If you forget those notions, then it’s possible to enjoy this sequel: ‘The Santa Clause 2’ has a very solid cast, a stronger script than the original, a better production budget, and is on the whole more consistent.

But it’s also much more geared towards mature audiences. Whereas the original was designed as family fare with lil’ tykes in mind, this one is for those same children eight years later: older, more seasoned.

After all, Charlie’s in high school now and his troubles land him face-to-face with the principal, who threatens to have him suspended for his graffiti. He’s acting out because of his complicated home life.

This isn’t something that small children can usually relate to.

They also can’t relate to Scott’s quest for love, which finds him on an uproarious blind date with his ex’s Santa-adoring friend. Middle-aged dating scenarios are barely relatable for teenagers, let alone kiddies.

But that’s also the strength of this motion picture: instead of shoveling at us an endless stream of goofiness, the humour is frequently more subtle than you’d expect and it gives us a few things to think about.

Don’t get wrong: ‘The Santa Clause 2’ doesn’t offer nuanced fodder like ‘Being There‘, but it also doesn’t trip all over itself like ‘Jingle All the Way‘, or, God forbid, ‘Elf’. At the very least, it’s a bit classier.

Still, small children and the easily-amused will get a few quick laughs out of Chet, the demented reindeer-in-training, or in Comet’s flatulent candy-binging. It is, after all, comedy fun for “the whole family”.

I actually preferred it to the original: I liked the dual story of Scott trying to sort his personal life back home while his doppelgänger is slowly ruining things at the North Pole; it gives us a double dose of Tim Allen.

And he’s pretty good here, as is the rest of the cast – including the child actors. My only reservations were with respect to Elizabeth Mitchell as Carol; she’s lovely, and it’s a great part, but she’s slightly unconvincing.

She and Allen did have some good chemistry, though, which helped to dispel the unrealistic aspects of their courtship – like the fact that he’d use his magic to impress her and she’d ask no questions whatsoever.

Thanks to their interplay, I could handle even that part of the picture.

If there’s anything I hated about it, really, it was the opening sequence, in which Santa’s security team tries to outmaneuver a research plane that’s detected them; it felt unnecessarily militaristic, contextually.

Elfcon 1? Seriously?

There’s also the requisite action finale, which finds Santa chasing after his toy doppelgänger, who plans on giving coal to all the world’s children. Naturally Santa is relegated to riding Chet and dueling his substitute!

Urgh.

Heck, I didn’t even mind the fact that the fake Santa become a despot and ran the workshop with the help of the Tin Soldiers. That was kind of amusing. I just didn’t think that you needed to bring violence into the mix.

More mature though it may be, ‘The Santa Clause 2’ is still a Holiday-themed family film, after all!

Ultimately, though, ‘The Santa Clause 2’ offers a good balance of warmth, romance, goofy fun and holiday sparkle. Yes, it defies credulity at many turns and there are plot contrivances along the way, but there’s way worse.

It’s certainly not stellar material – far from it. But it’s entertaining and enjoyable enough. Some will understandably turn up their noses at it but, as far as family viewing goes, it’s not at all a bad choice.

I would willingly watch it again.

Date of viewing: December 12, 2017

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