I love it when December arrives and the TV schedule starts filling up with overly sentimental Christmas movies . I'm not sure why that is; whether it is the simplicity of many of these Christmas movies or that they take me back to my childhood and the magical Christmases full of innocence or maybe it's that they show me a Christmas I wish for, one full of goodwill and festive cheer. "The Santa Clause" pretty much fits the bill for me, with fun, simplicity and innocence a plenty, an entertaining festive distraction although by no means a perfect one.
When Santa Claus dies falling from a rooftop it looks like Christmas is going to be ruined. But just before he dies he passes the festive torch onto advertising executive Scott Calvin (Tim Allen - Toy Story 3) who after some cajoling from his young son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) finds himself finishing the job of delivering presents to all the good children on the list. When he reaches the North Pole Scott learns that he has become the next Santa Claus thanks to the "Santa Clause". Returning back to normal life he discovers that he is slowly turning into Father Christmas and not only that everyone else thinks he's gone completely barmy.
Many may find that the simplistic and unoriginal nature of "The Santa Clause" makes it feel rather lame but I actually like it as the whole point of the movie is to provide some innocent holiday cheer which will appeal to both young and old alike. The plot is to say the least unoriginal with a workaholic business man discovering that what he thought was important is not really that important after all. Add to this the fact he steps in for Santa Claus and you would have a whole range of movies to choose from which have done both of these storylines before. But then it doesn't matter and expecting anything more from what is basically a movie targeting children would be foolish.
What this does mean is that "The Santa Clause" focuses primarily on the humour using the presence of Tim Allen to provide a constant flow of sarcasm which appeals to both young and old alike. The majority of the humour surrounds Calvin having to come to terms with his change of appearance as his belly swells, his hair goes grey and no matter how many times he shaves his beard grows back in an instant. Now I know this is something used in various movies but with Allen's sarcasm it works brilliantly to provide various laughs. As for the special effects which achieve these remarkable transformations, well they are not the best but they work more than adequately to make their point.
What is obvious is that "The Santa Clause" was written with Tim Allen in mind as it capitalizes upon the same sort of humour which he made his name with during his years fronting the sitcom "Home Improvements". At times it feels that Allen isn't able to break the chains of his previous on screen character but for the most it works and it is his constant witty quips which make "The Santa Clause" work so well. As for the others stars well it does feel a little like it's full of rent a characters with Judge Reinhold and Wendy Crewson playing stereotypical 2 dimensional characters and Eric Lloyd filling the role of cute but slightly annoying child. The one supporting actor who does make his presence felt is David Krumholtz who despite not getting anywhere near enough time as Bernard the Elf is brilliant with his dry humour.
What this all boils down to is that "The Santa Clause" is a nice, pretty much average Christmas movie which does little to offend but neither anything overly remarkable. There are numerous other more magical Christmas movies out there but "The Santa Clause" has a certain charm about it with jokes which will work for children and adults alike and will undoubtedly start the ball rolling when it comes to ushering in the festive cheer.