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Overall Rating
2.68

Awesome: 5.41%
Worth A Look: 8.11%
Average45.95%
Pretty Bad: 29.73%
Total Crap: 10.81%

3 reviews, 19 user ratings


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Santa Clause 2, The
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by Todd LaPlace

"Eight years late and it’s still this lame?"
2 stars

Is there anything Tim Allen won’t do for a paycheck? Would he do a “Big Trouble 2” or a “Jungle 2 Jungle 2” if someone paid him to do it (not that I’m making any suggestions)? Is it too early to start thinking of a “Christmas with a Kranks 2”? After all, it was a holiday movie too. If Allen keeps this up, his career won’t even be as big as Richard “Al Borland” Karn’s, and he’s going to be forever stuck doing that crappy new version of the “Feud.” Please Tim, don’t hurt us anymore.

There’s something ironic about Santa running his factory like an angry dictator when he’s slave-driving the elves to churn out enough coal to punish every kid on Earth (his naughty/nice standards are temporarily programmed too high). For someone pushing the sanctity of nice, he pretty quickly turned into a holly jolly jackass. But I guess it’s too much to expect a logical narrative from “The Santa Clause 2,” a quicky Tim Allen-vehicle designed to capitalize on the fond memories of a decent 8-year-old holiday flick.

Allen is back as Scott Calvin, the man forced to assume the St. Nick mantle after he’s subject to the punny title stipulation. In the semi-novel original, Scott accidentally kills Santa — fine, kid-friendly holiday fun — and puts on the dead man’s coat, thus falling victim to the clause. The sequel’s biggest problem is the once-creative concept started wearing thin long ago. After eight easy, stress-free years as Santa, Scott is blindsided with the news he has one month to fulfill the little known “Mrs. Clause,” a condition that forces him to take a wife by Christmas or forever blink the holiday out of existence. Convenient timing, eh? Assuming the Santa identity has switched hands at least once before (the elves don’t give it a second thought when Scott shows up instead of Santa, so it’s safe to assume he didn’t off the original), the Santa killed by Scott must have also satisfied the Mrs. Clause, so once Scott take over, where did she go? Does she get mystically whacked with her husband? It’s funny the women’s lib folk didn’t pick up this potentially sexist oversight.

But such quibbles are more designed for the older (parental) viewers. I’m pretty sure the kids aren’t going to be bothered by narrative faults, but they probably will be bothered by just how unfunny this movie truly is. With two story writers and five screenplay writers among the credits, it’s hard to evenly dole out the blame. The movie starts running dual narratives when Scott is forced to return to his son Charlie (a much older Eric Lloyd) to deal with his disciplinary problems (he legitimately belongs on the naughty list), as well as fulfill clause No. 2. In the meantime, elves Bernard and Curtis (David Krumholtz and Spencer Breslin, respectively, both of whom are too talented for this schlock) craft a shoddy-looking toy Santa to make sure the other elves don’t notice Scott’s absence. I guess if they didn’t blink an eye when Scott first showed up, they’ll similarly ignore Santa’s sudden mood swing, robotic mannerisms and fragmented speech. All it takes is one of these stories to be genuinely interesting to make me want to recommend this film as decent family fare. Alas, neither delivers as both resort to hackneyed plot twists and boring dialogue to get the film finished. You’d think after nearly a decade, the studio would have something better for the series’ rebirth.

The Scott story — a.k.a. the better story — all just seems a little too pat to be real. Scott’s ex Laura (Wendy Crewson) is still married to weenie Neil (Judge Reinhold) and they don’t seem to have a clue their son likes to graffiti the school gym. Just about the only person that does care is Charlie’s principal (Elizabeth Newman), a hottie bitch with a soft spot for good Christmas cheer. Now, if only there was someone in Charlie’s life that could bring out the heart beneath the ice. The courtship period, which overshadows Scott’s mission to save his son, is always pretty cute, occasionally sickeningly so. Scott livens up a drab holiday faculty party by passing out long-wanted presents to the grumbling teachers, quickly raising their spirits (and increasing our jealousy for not getting some cool old toys of our own). The moment is quickly killed, however, by a trite sleigh ride in the snow, complete with an opportunely-timed snowfall. Meanwhile, the North Pole is under siege by rejects from the movie “Toys.” Not only does toy Santa look sloppy, his army of giant toy soldiers belongs in a high school production of “The Nutcracker.”

Just about the only thing that does look good is Ingrid Ferrin’s costuming of a number of mythical creatures when Santa hosts the Board Meeting of Legendary Characters. Aisha Tyler looks gorgeous as Mother Nature and Peter Boyle is equally exquisitely attired as Father Time. The film actually does manage to use these cameo characters effectively, as the Tooth Fairy — soon to be known as either the Molenator or Roy — steps in to help Scott return to the North Pole in a pinch. If only the rest of this film could have been so innovative, maybe we could actually get excited about the already greenlit part three. The original subtitle pun was going to be “The Escape Clause.” Let’s just hope we get one prior to “The Santa Clause 3” so we don’t have sit though another of these unnecessary, lame sequels.

An accident-prone reindeer-in-training named Chet is what passes for comedy in “The Santa Clause 2.” Did they really think that was funny? Come on Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Don Rhymer, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Ed Dector and John J. Strauss; is this really the best all of you can do?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6272&reviewer=401
originally posted: 10/25/05 10:38:03
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User Comments

12/07/09 PAUL SHORTT HARMLESS FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT WITH MOMENTS OF CHARM, BUT ALSO PREDICTABLIITY 2 stars
6/19/07 Charles Tatum Better than the first, but... 3 stars
5/24/06 William Goss Ugh!: The Christmas Special 2 stars
3/03/06 Anthony Feor Not the greatest sequel 2 stars
12/06/05 ES Superior in every way to the first but still blah 3 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Stick with the first. 2 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz Nowhere near as good as the first. Good for a few laughs. 3 stars
10/26/05 Carolyn Rathburn Good Movie, but I liked the first one better. 4 stars
5/17/05 E-FUNK There's more Christmas spirit found in a steaming pile of reindeer shit. Hated it. 1 stars
7/25/04 Katie This sequel is great. The story is as good as the first one. 4 stars
6/05/04 Kevin this movies sucks big time, so stupid. tim allen sucks. eddie murphy is better 1 stars
12/03/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
4/13/03 Santa Jr. As sweet, amusing, and entertaining as the first. Get into the spirit, you grumps 5 stars
1/31/03 Her Royal Heinie Fake Santa a real overkill, but at least elf less smarty this time and no men burn turkey. 3 stars
12/15/02 viking Boring and outdated !!!!! 2 stars
12/13/02 and total crap and bullshit 3 stars
11/10/02 bumhug the only joy this movie will bring this year is that the credits will eventually roll 1 stars
11/03/02 MyztiQ very fun, cute flick 4 stars
11/02/02 beatriz nobody wanted the sequal....why? 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Nov-2002

UK
  N/A

Australia
  05-Dec-2002




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