Projections - Movie Reviews

The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause

The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause

Christmas films fall in two categories: very forgettable (Santa Clause Conquers the Martians) and classics (Miracle on 34th Street)The Santa Clause 2 will be an instant classic.

It will be impossible not to compare the original The Santa Clause in which Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accepted the clause which reluctantly made him "The Santa Clause."  They are different but share a warm central core and SC-2 is even more charming.

It begins on a gigantic set at the North Pole work shop which feels like a Broadway opening as the elves and Santa move into the busy Christmas season.  It's the atmosphere director Michael Lembeck was reaching for.  A larger than life staging the kind that impressed him at an early age through the guidance of his father and "best teacher," Harvey Lembeck.

Tim Allen's Santa enters The Santa Clause 2 with numerous problems.  He has just discovered "The Mrs. Clause," which requires him to marry by Christmas or become de-Santified giving up the job he has come to love.  His son Charley (Eric Lloyd) who has noticeably grown into adolescence is on the "naughty" list, Charley and his school principal (Elizabeth Mitchell) are at logger-heads as Charley literally paints up the school with the help of his girlfriend.  Santa's third problem is work, the toys must be finished on time for the big night.

The solution for the work comes from Elf #2, Curtis (Spencer Breslin) who develops a process by which Santa can be cloned, and can appear to be working while the real spirit of Christmas heads South to get his kid back on the "nice" list and find a suitable wife.

The clone Santa is the silly goofy part of the film which kids will laugh and giggle at, even when he endangers Christmas.  It's the sequence Tim Allen enjoyed performing the most.

But the heart of the film and what makes it magical is the willingness of Santa to give up his last ounce of magic to bring the essence of Christmas to a cynical burned out group of teachers who have lost the dream of a kid's Christmas.  In an unforgettable and very effective scene like Ralph's receiving a Red Ryder BB gun with the compass in the stock in A Christmas Story, and the little girl who speaks with Edmund Guenn's Kris Kringle in her native language in the 1946 version of Miracle on 34th Street, Allen's Santa warms everyone's heart as he brings adults back to the wonder of a childhood Christmas.

Elizabeth Mitchell's Carol Newman moves from a static school principal to a willing participant in the Santa Clause world as she participates in the teachers' Christmas party.  Her eyes betray her child like love of Christmas as that state of mind changes her life after the party.  Mitchell is perfect as she moves from a hard factual bureaucrat to part of the mystique of Christmas.

Allen waited eight years before agreeing to this sequel because he wanted the film not to simply be a retread of the first.  The writers and director Michael Lembeck have carried out Allen's mandate to perfection.

This is not a film just for kids, it's also a film for those who enjoy remembering Christmas dreams; that's what Tim Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell set out to do, they did it in The Santa Clause 2.

The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause

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