The Santa Clause 2


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Let's be clear about one thing. Santa Claus exists. The factory at the North Pole is fully operational, with an underage workforce of pointy-eared children, who speak Cutesy, a Californian dialect that causes nausea amongst those with nursery allergies.

In the first Santa Clause movie, American TV sit-com superstar Tim Allen played a workaholic bad dad, who saved Christmas by accepting the top job at Yo Ho Ho Inc, and reindeered off to Elf City, where the corporation had its headquarters. In the inevitable sequel, he is well ensconced in the role of the jolly, fat, bearded philanthropist, until someone notices that there is a clause in his contract which has been overlooked. It declares that he must produce a Mrs Santa before Dec 25, or else the entire stocking filler industry will disappear in a puff of snow and there won't be any prezzy raids ever again.

Allen arrives back in the house he deserted the year before and, thanks to CGI twiddling, stops being a white-whiskered groovy granddad and becomes his old charmy self, who has to deal with a rebellious teenage son (Eric Lloyd). Since the only unattached female he comes across is the high school principal (Elizabeth Mitchell), who takes a dim view of misbehaviour in whatever form, he has a problem on his hands. She's a killjoy, he's desperate. With only 28 days in which to thaw her icy mistrust of anything in trousers, he resorts to magic, except he has to be careful, because he's only allowed to use a certain amount and if he doesn't have enough left at the end to make it back to the North Pole, Christmas is scuppered.

The film might have drowned in saccharine, but doesn't, despite the non-unionised, happy-go-lucky elves. While Allen is looking for his prospective bride, he leaves a life-sized toy Santa in charge. This cloned duplicate turns into Sadam Hussein, who, with the help of giant tin soldiers, instigates a reign of terror at the presents factory.

There are other surprises, too, such as Allen's personality, which is on a Terry Wogan level of easy listening. Hollywood yuletide sentimentality can turn your guts into fudge - remember Arnie in Jingle All The Way? - but the film they were going to call The Mrs Clause is less cringeworthy than anyone might have dared expect.

Reviewed on: 28 Nov 2002
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The Santa Clause 2 packshot
Tim Allen is still playing Santa, but this time he must find a wife.
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Director: Michael Lembeck

Writer: Don Rhymer, Cino Paul, Ken Daurio, Ed Decter, John J Strauss, based on a story by Steve Rudnick

Starring: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, David Krumholtz, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Spencer Breslin, Liliana Mumy, Art LaFleur, Aisha Tyler, Kevin Pollak

Year: 2002

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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