The Santa Clause 2

Bland is probably the best word to describe Tim Allen as an actor. It's not necessarily a bad thing, since it makes him easily accessible to the general public, and allows moviemakers to tweak his image ever so slightly with each film to adjust it to whatever family friendly idea they want. When he does stretch his talents, it's just not that interesting. Still, Allen (Big Trouble, Who is Cletus Tout?) does have a normal everyman quality about him, which is what studios like. The problem is that who wants to see somebody normal in a movie? In The Santa Clause 2, Allen reprises his role as Scott Calvin, the newest Santa Clause. This is another example in Disney's recent efforts to produce sequels for all their popular (and marginal) films, creating franchises and ensuring royalty payments in perpetuity. The Santa Clause 2 is better than most of their other recent sequel efforts, but not by much.

The first Santa Clause was a surprise to most people, grossing more money than it deserved. Hoping to keep the magic alive, Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul (Bubble Boy), Ed Decter and John J. Strauss (Head Over Heels), and Don Rhymer (Big Momma's House) cobbled together a script with two very different stories happening at the same time. It seems that there is a Mrs. clause in the contract, and that Santa must be married or else he will transform back into Scott and Christmas will be lost forever. Calvin has less than a month to fall in love and marry, and he finds out that his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd, Luminous Motion, My Giant) is vandalizing school property. At the same time, he leaves a toy Santa in charge at the North Pole, who becomes dogmatic in his approach to the rules and ends up becoming a megalomaniacal tyrant. Huh? Anyway, back at school, Calvin meets Carol Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell, Hollywood Palms, Nurse Betty), who also happens to be extremely hot and single.

It's pretty hard to mess up a movie about Christmas. The spirit of the season is enough to give a good feeling to a movie about it. However, the toy Santa half of The Santa Clause is dull and uninspiring. It seems there only to appease kids with colorful characters and admittedly gorgeous looking sets. It takes more than the presence of David Krumholtz (Two Can Play That Game, Sidewalks of New York) acting like a moron to make kids happy. The Calvin/Newman romance is marginally better, if not utterly predictable. Allen is somewhat charming, and director Michael Lembeck does a decent job of keeping things moving at a quick clip. It's just everything is so standard and disposable that The Santa Clause 2 feels empty.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated G.

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