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The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause, Santa Clause 2

Check it twice

Directed by:

Michael Lembeck

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 105 minutes

UK Certificate: U

On DVD

Country: United States

‘The Santa Clause’ remains forever fresh in the mind thanks to its annual slot in the yuletide daytime TV schedules – which might be why it’s so hard to believe it first came out way back in 1994. Eight years later, this disappointing follow-up hit the big screen, with the DVD release delayed by a further 12 months in order to catch the 2003 festive season. But if this disc somehow manages to capture the public’s imagination on any sort of reasonable scale, it really WILL be a Christmas miracle.

The bulk of the original cast return – bulkiest of all being Tim Allen, who’s back in his red and white fat suit as Father C. In the original, in case it passed you by, he was an average Joe who unwittingly became legally bound to taking on Santa’s job after trying on the big man’s costume. This time round, he’s still living the high life in the North Pole, but contractual obligations are once again causing probs. Apparently, the paperwork says he’s got to find a wife – a “Mary Christmas” if you will – within 28 days, or the whole deal’s off. What’s more, it seems his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) has misbehaved his way onto the naughty list (and it’s been checked twice, so there’s no chance of it being a mistake). So, a month earlier than usual, Santa Claus is coming to town.

Can our hero manage to sort out his son, free the North Pole from the tyranny of a bizarre evil plastic Santa, AND get the girl in time to deliver the toys to all the kiddy-winks out there? Strangely, I found myself not caring one way or the other. A bit like the toys, it all just seems too manufactured to evoke any sort of genuine emotion.

Director Michael Lembeck is best known for his work on ‘Friends’, so he’s used to directing a laugh or three – but usually he’s got some considerably better writing to work with. Most of the jokes here just don’t work, despite Allen’s valiant attempts at squeezing a few laughs out of them. The rest of the line-up just look plain bored.

The first ‘Santa Clause’ was certainly nothing special, but it was decent festive entertainment and had a strong enough premise to hold the attention of all ages. By comparison, watching the sequel just feels like far too much of a chore. As a kid’s film it’s completely inoffensive, but it’s also without any spark of Chrimbo magic. It’s less ho-ho-ho, and more no-no-no.

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It's Got: A school principal (Elizabeth Mitchell) who, bafflingly, undergoes a sudden change of character for no apparent reason. And why would they cast a pretty blond 30-something in the role of a supposedly hard-bitten crone anyway? See how it long takes you to figure it out.

It Needs: To cease the child labour. We all know those elves are really just kids with false ears. Who’s Santa trying to kid??

DVD Extras A couple of behind-the-scenes looks at the North Pole set, out-takes and deleted scenes, some mock interviews with “legendary figures” like the Tooth Fairy, an audio commentary, and a ’Save Santa’ interactive game telling you to use buttons on your DVD remote which don’t appear to exist. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Elf, Santa Claus the Movie, The Santa Clause

Summary

Stick this one in your DVD machine straight after you’ve had your turkey – that way if you doze off you won’t have missed out on anything.

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