Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has agreeably and skillfully taken to his new position, and additional weight. In his customary red suit, he inspects his North Pole workers constructing dump trucks, teddy bears, doll houses and jack-in-the-boxes with their tiny hammers, offering complimentary support to the elves: “Perfect job on suspension ... thinking outside the box.”
But trouble is brewing, and nobody wants to spill the bad news to Santa. Not only is his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), on the naughty list, Calvin has less than 28 days to find a woman willing to cut herself off from the world as she knows it, and live in a place surrounded by little people obsessed with toys. That’s right, a second contractual clause has reared its matrimonial head — the Mrs. Clause — and Santa must find a wife pronto, because the de-Santification process has already begun.
Is it the perfectly rounded snowballs, or maybe the way the flakes don’t melt when they hit the skin? Whatever the reasons, SC2 is an autopilot Hollywood concoction lacking in imagination and authentic Christmas spirit, yet it’s geared toward an audience full of masters of both.
Although this sequel to 1994’s holiday pleaser, The Santa Clause, carries the majority of the original’s cast and producers with it, the change of director and writers has left Tim Allen’s endearing boy-man humor (a good goofball choice for the role) trudging through a lackluster, manufactured Frank’s Nursery Christmess, and using up all of his magic to try to pull himself out. The film’s few enchanting moments, and there are some, tend to only shine through when Calvin returns home to an easier-to-handle environment for the moviemakers. But when it shoots back to Santa’s Winter Wonderland, peopled with pointy-eared stage kids, all fascination and momentum is lost inside the unextraordinary North Pole sets and undertakings.
The Santa Clause Two is a dry sleigh ride through synthetic holiday cheer, with a lazy, off-the-cuff, into-the-fire plot that leaves you cold and hungry for a Burl Ives’ Holly Jolly Christmas.
Anita Schmaltz writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].