Most helpful critical review
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Better than 3, not as good as 1
on 26 November 2012
The Santa Clause 2 is a dependably entertaining slice of Christmas fare. Set eight years after the first film it shows Santa/Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) comfortable in his role and shaping up to be the most successful Santa ever. Unfortunately there are 2 flies in his ointment this year. One is that his son Charlie, now a rebellious teen, is on the naughty list. This is primarily because of Charlie's one man crusade against the icily Scrooge-like school principal Newman played by Elizabeth Mitchell. the other problem is that there was an even smaller clause on the business card that Calvin picked up in the first film. This states that Santa has to get married in order to maintain his Santa status. Failure to get married by Christmas will result in total 'desantafication'.
So Calvin returns to take up residence with his ex-wife and her husband for the holiday season (as you do) while he ponders the task of finding a wife. To ensure that the elves don't miss him he allows elf inventor Curtis (Spencer Breslin) to create a plastic clone of himself which is instructed to pretend to be Santa for the duration. Breslin seems to take the head elf role previously inhabited by Bernard (David Krumholz). This is a pity because Krumholz's irascible performance helped to make the first film. Here he is reduced to theatrical mugging whenever something goes wrong.
The film splits into two strands as Allen engages on a hunt for a wife in the USA before falling in love with ice queen Principal Newman while plastic Santa evolves into a despotic megalomaniac back at the North Pole. We get treated to the sight of Calvin slowly transforming back into an ordinary guy whilst plastic Santa has taken over the North Pole using cloned giant Nutcracker soldiers. Having reasoned that all kids are naughty he has turned the entire facility over to coal production which he intends to deliver on Christmas Eve.
The final segment of the film has Curtis escaping to bring Calvin back to the North Pole. A battle ensues involving snowballs, snowmobiles and an aerial struggle between the Santas before Calvin prevails and plastic Santa is deposed. Just time for a quick wedding to stave off the desantafication process and all's well with the world again.
The film has plenty to recommend it. All the original adult cast are present including Judge Reinhold and Wendy Crewson. Stand out scenes are the toe curlingly embarrassing blind date and the revitalisation of the teachers' turgid Christmas party. As a teenager,Eric Lloyd is less saccharine and annoying than he was as a child. Having a council of mythical beings is a nice idea, especially casting big, brick-faced Art LaFleur as the Tooth Fairy. Elizabeth Mitchell does a good job as the slow-to-melt Principal Newman.
On the downside, the annoying young Charlie has been replaced by an even more annoying baby reindeer called Chet and I've already mentioned the emasculation of David Krumholtz's character. The Nutcracker soldiers must be the most ineffective villains since the robots in The Black Hole, mainly acting like skittles to be knocked over by our heroes.
I did wonder whether 3 stars was a little harsh for this film. However, it doesn't have the magic of the first film and it does feel a bit like a made to order sequel. Having said that, it is a solid piece of entertainment, well made with an absorbing storyline. Tim Allen is always watchable and he is well supported by his fellow cast members. I watch this film every year and I always enjoy it. I guess that's the acid test and Santa Clause 2 passes with flying colours.