Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Santa Clause (1994) [PG] ***

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) does marketing for a children's toy company. He and his ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson) share custody of their son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) - and Christmas Eve is Scott's time with his son. Later that night, after they've gone to sleep, Charlie hears noises on the roof and wakes Scott. It's Santa Claus with his sleigh and reindeer, and when Scott startles him, Santa falls off the roof and passes on to the next world. Scott finds Santa's card, which says: If something should happen to me, put on my suit. The reindeer will know what to do.

At Charlie's pleading, Scott puts on Santa's suit, and spends the rest of Christmas Eve night delivering toys around the world. Later, at the North Pole, Scott and Charlie meet the elves and see Santa's workshop. When Scott resists the idea that he's the new Santa, head elf Bernard (David Krumholtz) shows him the fine print on Santa's card, which includes the Santa clause, the legal clause clearly stating that, by his actions, Scott has waived his rights to his previous identity and is now Santa Claus. Charlie loves the idea that his dad is the new Santa, but it takes Scott nearly a year to accept his new identity, and complete the transformation from cynical, hard-headed marketing man to soft, child-loving Santa, the icon of selfless gift-giving.

The screenplay is inspired, the musical score is lovely, and the casting is outstanding, especially Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz and Judge Reinhold as Dr. Neil Miller, Laura's psychiatrist husband. Because The Santa Clause gives a reasonable explanation for each of the logical arguments against the existence of Santa Claus - all those children, all those toys, one night, one sleigh, eight flying reindeer, etc., etc. - this film is perfect for children of all ages. If you love the wonderful idea of Santa Claus, don't miss The Santa Clause.

Labels: christmas, comedy, drama, family, fantasy
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 57/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=60, viewers=62)