I’m not going to tell you that The Santa Clause 2 is a classic. I’m not even going to tell you it’s a good movie. But it’s a damn sight better than you probably think it is (ie. shit). It’s an eight years later sequel to the 1994 Disney original, in which Tim Allen accidentally kills Father Christmas (great start to a kids’ film), then gradually bloats and beards up as he finds he has to don the red coat and replace the big guy, with the assistance of his young son and an irascible Jewish elf called Bernard. You can choose to view it as one man’s descent into insanity, but it also seems reminiscent of Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse, a comic fantasy in which a suicidal man replaces Death. Anthony spun out the novel into the Incarnations of Immortality series, which took in characters like Father Time, War and Nature.
Similarly, The Santa Clause 2 introduces a council of mythological personifications like The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and The Sandman, who’s played by a narcoleptic Michael Dorn. That’s right, it’s fucking Worf in a nightshirt. Believe it or not, that’s not the best bit.
The main plot concerns another “clause” (see what they did there) meaning our man Santa has to bag himself a wife before Christmas Eve, for some unconvincing reason. I guess immigration laws at The North Pole are unexpectedly draconian. While he’s off out in the real world, mackin’ on chicks, over in the B plot, the elves create a replacement, Last Starfighter style. The replacement “Toy” goes mad with power, puts everyone in the world on the naughty list and ends up as a black leather clad, vaguely fascist militaristic dictator. Unbelievably, this is also not the bet bit.
The best bit comes when Allen starts begins his desperate quest for a shotgun wedding. He dates a woman who is so obsessed with the Festive period that she immediately launches into one of the most excruciatingly awkward performances in cinema history, a version of Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like A Woman, lyrics bastardised to the grammatically suspect Man I Feel Like Some Christmas. It’s astonishing, and credit must be given to the actress, for such a balls out, batshit crazy performance.
There’s nothing quite so entertaining in The Santa Clause 3, an undercooked franchise entry that not even an off the shelf riff on It’s A Wonderful Life, and Martin Short in the role of Jack Frost can salvage. To add insult to injury, Bernard is nowhere to be seen and not even mentioned. At least the production designers were amusing themselves – I’m pretty sure I saw a fireplace that was suspiciously reminiscent of the big stone head from Zardoz.
Forget that. They should make a spin off about the crazy Christmas lady, the true breakout character (or, if you prefer, The Boba Fett) of The Santa Clause “Trilogy”.