The Santa Clause
Directed by John Pasquin. Starring Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz. (1994, PG, 97 min.)
REVIEWED By Hollis Chacona, Fri., Nov. 18, 1994
Here's the situation: you've startled old St. Nick into taking a tumble off your roof and (to help salvage a deteriorating relationship with your son) you agree to don the famous red suit for the rest of the night only to discover that the fine print consigns you to a lifetime of Santa servitude, indentured by… the Santa clause. A litigious Christmas comedy? Actually, this souped-up sled is a perfect vehicle for TV star/comedian Tim Allen and, despite its formulaic chassis, he takes us through a few interesting twists and turns. The best turn takes us due north, where, hidden just below the glittering ice cap is a warm and wild place called the North Pole. Here a Benetton band of elves busily build the requisite toys under the watchful eye of the all-knowing, slightly bah-humbuggish, more than slightly Brooklynish Bernard (Krumholtz). Part Oz, part Willy Wonka chocolate factory, this delicious concoction of a Santa's workshop set is fantastic and too much for our wondering eyes to absorb in the short amount of time we're allowed there. But, even in the “real” world of The Santa Clause, the jokes are mostly funny, the divorced parents stay happily divorced, and we're treated to yet another earnestly dopey performance by the endearing Judge Reinhold. The picture does go south when young Charlie (Lloyd) gets a little too altruistic and a lot too lip-quivery, but it doesn't stay there long. Okay, so it can't hold a comedic candle to A Christmas Story, but I can guarantee that if you take your kids to The Santa Clause, you'll never again have to dodge those disconcerting questions about how Santa gets into your fireplace-less house. And that alone could be worth the price of admission.