"The Santa Clause 2"

Tim Allen stars in 'The Santa Clause 2' (Walt Disney)
If these movies must be made, do with them what should be done. Put them on the Wonderful World of Disney the week before Christmas, not Nov. 1. All the latter does is make us think about Christmas when we have yet to give thanks on Nov. 28.

"The Santa Clause 2" takes place eight years after its predecessor. We find Scott Calvin fitting in nicely in the role of the jolly old elf. Things at the North Pole are humming along. But there is a problem. All movies have to have a problem, and the problem here is the second clause of the Santa contract. 

The card that Scott found on the body of the Santa he accidentally killed has even smaller fine print than the statement that made him Santa. This clause says he has to get married. It is the Mrs. Clause. Tension gets greater when it's revealed this must be done in the next 28 days or Scott will cease to be Santa and Christmas will end. That would be bad because marketing types from Disney would not have a product to push two months before the holiday.

Scott's problems grow worse because his high-school son, Charlie, has shown up on the naughty list. Scott has to return home to deal with Charlie and find a wife. All of this takes place as he "de-Santafies." As the movie progresses, we see Scott becoming more like the old Scott and less like Santa.

To allow for Santa to leave the North Pole, a Santa clone is created. This Santa becomes a policy wonk that only goes by the book. Using the book and taking the naughty and nice list in hand, this Santa decides that all children are naughty and deserve coal instead of toys. Again, this seems to be another blow to marketing when you factor in the tie-in toys for the movie.

"The Santa Clause 2" is a cute movie, but it lacks some of the very elements that made the first movie good—namely, the Tim Allen wit that also infused his stand-up act, television show and sci-fi spoof, "Galaxy Quest." That humor never reveals itself here.  

The movie also lacks more of the mythos of Santa Claus. The explanation of the way Santa is Santa was a hallmark of the first film. We see only some of this in the movie. When Scott attends a dull Christmas party and turns it into a time of joy of Christmas past, we see some of the magic that made the first movie so wonderful. 

"The Santa Clause 2" has the look and feel of those Disney knockoffs that are coming out now. These are sequels that don't need to be made. One of the trailers shown preceding this movie was for "Jungle Book 2." "Jungle Book" does not need a sequel.

If these movies must be made, do with them what should be done. Put them on the Wonderful World of Disney the week before Christmas, not Nov. 1. All the latter does is make us think about Christmas when we have yet to give thanks on Nov. 28.

 Mike Parnell is pastor of Burgaw Baptist Church in Burgaw, N.C.

 MPAA  Rating: G

Director: Michael Lembeck

Writers: Don Rhymer, Ken Daurio, Ed Decter, Cinco Paul and John J. Strauss

Cast: Scott/Santa: Tim Allen; Carol Newman: Elizabeth Mitchell; Charlie Calvin: Eric Lloyd; Bernard: David Krumholtz; Curtis: Spencer Breslin; Laura Miller: Wendy Crewson; Neil Miller: Judge Reinhold


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