JUMPCUT ALL THE WAY: The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

Directed by: Michael Lembeck
Starring: Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Elizabeth Mitchell, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, David Krumholtz, Spencer Breslin

Written by Chris Gelderd

This 2002 American festive comedy is the sequel to 1994’s ‘The Santa Clause’ and is directed by Michael Lembeck and stars Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Elizabeth Mitchell, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, David Krumholtz and Spencer Breslin.

Eight years after taking on the role of Santa Claus, Scott Calvin (Allen) is finding it difficult to split time between his North Pole festive duties with elves Bernard (Krumholtz) and Curtis (Breslin), and being a father to Charlie (Lloyd) who is rebelling at school and finds his way onto Santa’s naughty list. To make things worse, Curtis reveals another clause overlooked in the original contract; the Mrs. Clause, in which Santa needs to find a wife before Christmas Day or he will stop being Santa and Christmas will be lost.

To help Santa spend time with his family and try to find a wife, Curtis and Bernard create a clone of Santa out of a plastic toy who takes over the running of the North Pole. Meanwhile, Scott starts to form a bond with Charlie’s principal, Carol Newman (Mitchell) and uses his magic to woo her as the two gradually fall for each other.

But when Toy Santa (Allen) takes the rules of Christmas too literally, he imprisons Bernard, creates an army of toy soldiers and puts every child on the naughty list to receive lumps of coal on Christmas Day. Facing a deadline to convince Carol who he really is and win her hand, Scott must also stop Toy Santa from destroying the magic of Christmas, all before it is too late for everyone…

A worthy sequel to the 1994 original, this time heaping on cartoonish comedy and slapstick, and featuring more fantasy and magic than the first time around. We have the manic, comical mishaps at the North Pole featuring an over-zealous Toy Santa taking over Santa’s workshop coupled with a more heartfelt setting in Chicago as Scott tries to win over a frosty school principal and fix his family.

This film works best with heart, and the segments with Scott and his family trying to repair the stress of keeping a secret like “My Dad is Santa”, and as he has fun with the likeable Elizabeth Mitchell to woo her over, are great to watch. They are witty, but humane and focus on just what you’d want from a Christmas film; heart and family and relationships, sprinkled with discovering the real meaning of Christmas.

It falls flat cut with the North Pole chaos, with an over-acting Tim Allen as a dastardly Toy Santa who takes over the workshop to effectively cancel Christmas. These moments are a little TOO silly with the overall story, and it detracts from the grounding of things. When both stories come together, it provides a few entertaining moments as the elves battle the toy soldiers, and a mini-revolution takes place. The added danger and confrontation to stand it apart from the first is welcome, it’s just handled a little sloppy.

Added with very irritating reindeer who now talk (with a god-awful Jar Jar Binks-esque voice) and fart, this makes me cringe also as it seems to lower the standard set in the first for something a little more stupid, and it doesn’t really need to do that to be effective, as we see in moments here.

Still, it does the job and continues the story with all the main cast returning for a decent sequel that tries its best and offers a good twist on things.

 

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JUMPCUT ALL THE WAY: The Santa Clause (1994)

Directed by: John Pasquin
StarringTim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson and David Krumholtz.

Written by Chris Gelderd

38-year-old Scott Calvin (Allen) is spending Christmas Eve with his young son Charlie (Lloyd), splitting time equally between his ex-wife Laura (Crewson) and her new partner Neil (Reinhold). While the celebration doesn’t go according to plan thanks to Scott’s dismissal of the season, that night they are woken by noise on the roof of their house. Investigating, Scott disturbs Santa Claus, causing him to fall and disappear into thin air, leaving only a set of instructions and the red suit behind.

To satisfy Charlie’s excitement, Scott goes along with wearing the suit and following the instructions which lead to the reindeer and sleigh. Once he takes a seat, Scott is magically whisked away on a journey to deliver presents around the world before he is taken to the North Pole and briefed on the situation by Head Elf Bernard (Krumholtz).

Waking up the next morning and dismissing the events as a dream, Scott starts a transformation over the year where he gradually becomes the new Santa Claus, complete with big round belly and thick beard and white hair. With Charlie trying to help him believe in the magic that has happened, Scott soon discovers the fate of Christmas rests on him accepting his new role and convincing those closest to him that what happened was real before it is too late…

One of the better mainstream Christmas films to come our way, now 20 years old and still retaining that schmaltzy festive magic, but with a decent story that relies on character, heart and humour rather than truckloads of slapstick and cheap visuals.

Tim Allen surfing the peak of this TV and movie career comes across, to me, a little over-confident in his ability as being funnier than he actually is. While the script isn’t awful, it’s not that funny, but Allen gurns and quips and groans over his puns and silly actions that I think he feels is laugh out loud funny, but really it’s a little cheesy. Yet with a decent supporting cast with young Eric Lloyd, the always-passionate Judge Reinhold and likeable David Krumholtz as our Head Elf, Allen is in good company.

With most of the story set in the everyday suburbs, it gives us lots of comical moments which see Allen slowly transform into our new Santa – this is fun to see and watch him and the people around him try to find explanations as to the increase in weight and excessive facial hair, yet also tugs on the heartstrings a little when he is seen as nothing more than a liability and neglectful parent.

With nothing offensive, crude or adult, this is easy festive viewing for all the family with plenty of heart-warming moments that focus on family and relationships, rather than just fantasy and adventure.