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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Movie Review:The Santa Clause

Premise:A divorced father accidentally agrees to become Santa Claus.

Cast:Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, Eric Lloyd as Charlie Calvin, Wendy Crewson as Laura Miller, Judge Reinhold as Dr. Neil Miller, David Krumholtz as Bernard, Paige Tamada as Judy the elf

Director:John Pasquin

MPAA Rating:PG for some crude moments

Genres:Holiday, comedy

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Father-son bonding.

Cons:Obnoxious characters. In-story legal issues.

It's one thing to tell your skeptical kid that Santa is real. It's another to actually meet the guy, then accidentally kill him and get his job. Your life might get a little more complicated, especially when your ex and her husband start to worry about how much time you spend with your son.

The father-son bond is really the driving force of the film. Charlie has to help Scott learn how to believe in his new job while Scott has to help Charlie tone his very vocal insistence on Santa's existence down a little. It's not a bad relationship. I do wish they had worked to make Laura and Neil more likable rather than setting them up as obstacles. By all accounts, they should be sympathetic, but the film doesn't really present them that way, especially not at first.

There were also some legal problems going on in story. Several things Scott does are swept under the rug because he's Santa and he wants to spend time with his son. Never mind the custody issues, the broken laws, or anything like that.

Overall, this is another "catch it on TV" Christmas movie. It's not especially great, but it has its moments.

Sex:Scott remarks at a company party that their families aren't there, hence why the guy dressed as Santa has his secretary on his lap. At home, he falls asleep in a shirt and his boxers, later yelling most of the time he sleeps buck naked as a couple of neighbors (one a young girl) walk by. Depending on the version you're watching (many have removed the following line), Scott can say something about 1800-SPANKME.
An elf who resembles a little girl tells Scott she's taken. While listing off naughty and nice kids, he says about a grown woman in a short skirt "Very nice", only to be rebuffed. At the sight of the empty Santa suit, Scott says "He's naked somewhere." Puppets scream when Scott changes clothes in the same room. There's a sarcastic remark about looking for women with a little boy. A man lifts his shirt for an exam.

Violence:The whole situation starts because Scott startles Santa and causes him to fall off the roof and die. A little dark for a kid's movie. A kid asks if his dad is having a heart attack (he isn't). A fireman tells a classroom there is nothing more painful than third-degree burns (not true, because they often destroy the pain sensors). The teacher says "Sorry about your partner."
Scott lies he's late because of a three car pile-up, that a bee sting nearly killed him and cause severe swelling, and that a dry-cleaner fire burned up all his clothes. A presentation on Santa making the trip in a tank earns such comments like "I hope you were good this year kids, because Santa just took out the Pearsons." He also makes a sarcastic remark about killing and skinning an animal with Charlie.
Elves tie up and gag a guy. On his first night as Santa, Scott is the victim of physical humor. A guy dressed as Santa is slammed against a cop car. Scott burns a turkey, requiring use of a fire extinguisher. He threatens to beat up Neil. A fire proof suit is demonstrated.

Drugs/Alcohol:When dealing with magic for the first time, Scott says it's okay because he lived through the sixties. He asks for a stiff drink from an elf (he gets hot cocoa). The elf who made it says the recipe has it shaken, not stirred. People drink with meals and at parties. Scott sarcastically says he and Charlie were doing shots. An ashtray appears in the background.

Language/Insults:"G*d" and "h*ll" are said a few times each. A kid is told not to say "st*pid". Santa is called "fat boy".

Gross stuff:A reindeer farts. So does Scott when he gets out of bed. He complains that the Santa suit could have been at a thousand malls before he puts it on. While pretending to be Santa, Charlie has one of his reindeer say they need to use the bathroom.

Spiritual:Magic helps Santa and the elves. In Scott's case, it also results him gaining a lot of weight, growing a massive beard, and his hair turning white. Even after he shaves his beard and dyes his hair, it immediately reverts back to what it was before. Charlie is giving a magic snow globe.
Scott tries to encourage Charlie to believe in Santa, but when evidence of the jolly man's existence stares him right in the face, he calls it ridiculous. One elf says most adults can't believe in magic, while another says kids have the spirit of Christmas in their hearts. The theme of belief runs throughout the whole movie, with quotes like "Sometimes believing in something means you just believe in it", "Just because you haven't seen something doesn't mean it doesn't exist", and "Seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing".
Scott sarcastically remarks you should see his son's stepfather walk on water. Carolers sing "Carol Of The Bells". Scott tries to explain how reindeer fly, thinking "fairy dust".

So what was your opinion?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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