, , ,

Scott Calvin says that Santa’s real
And gives the chronic Christmas spiel
When his son Charlie visits Scott.
Though Charlie has faith, Scott does not.
Their Christmas Eve is pitiful,
But Charlie’s still excitable.
He hears a noise upon the roof
And knows it’s many a reindeer hoof.
Scott’s yelling startles someone there,
Who falls before the dumbstruck pair.
At Charlie’s urging, Scott agrees
To wear the suit the man empties.
They find indeed a reindeer sleigh,
With which Scott flies, to his dismay,
Delivering the toys with scorn
To every house before the morn.
The reindeer taking full control,
They end up at the real North Pole,
Where child-like elves greet him because
Scott Calvin’s their new Santa Claus.
The Santa Clause (observe the E)
Makes Scott the big man rapidly.
Though he refuses to believe,
He can’t escape that Christmas Eve.
As Charlie tells both Mom and Neal
That Scott is Santa Claus for real,
Scott finds that he is gaining weight,
Perhaps from all the sweets he ate.
His beard is growing magically;
He’s Santa-fied for all to see,
And Laura comes to the conclusion
This is some harmful delusion.
She takes Charlie from his dad,
Who only wants to please the lad.
When Christmas Eve arrives once more,
Both Scott and Charlie flee and soar.
This puts Scott on the wanted list,
And he’s arrested in the midst
Of Christmas duties, though some elves
Release him, flying off themselves.
Returning Charlie to his mom,
Scott tries to keep the youngster calm.
As Laura’s disbelieving thaws,
Scott proves himself as Santa Claus
And flies away with all his toys
For all the world’s good girls and boys.

Certain films thoroughly capture and capitalize on a comedian’s unique voice; Bill Murray had Groundhog Day, Dudley Moore had Arthur, Steve Martin had The Jerk, and Tim Allen had The Santa Clause. Full of all the deprecatory wit of his hit TV series Home Improvement (which director John Pasquin had previously produced), Tim Allen is at his comedic best in this modern Christmas classic. It’s unfortunate that the humor seems to normalize Charlie’s dysfunctional broken family, but some later scenes showing the impact of a judge’s court order lends some reality to the pain of divorce and the nuclear family’s disintegration. The filmmakers couple this comedy and heart with some Christmas spirit that is at once revisionist and faithful, creating a film that remains as entertainingly original today as it was in 1994.

Tim Allen steals every scene, from his abortive turkey meltdown early on to his constant disparagement of Neal’s snazzy sweaters, which my VC actually admires. Allen’s fat suit for gradually transforming into St. Nick never looks fake, and if the likes of The Nutty Professor and Norbit can earn Best Makeup Oscar nominations, The Santa Clause certainly should have. Wendy Crewson of Air Force One and gentle-voiced Judge Reinhold of Beverly Hills Cop provide sympathetic foils for Allen’s drollery, and their disbelief and concern for Charlie’s well-being are entirely understandable. Indeed, though Allen releases a number of snide remarks, the film’s strength is its lack of negativity. No character possesses any ill will, and everything hinges on discovering belief rather than some good/evil conflict, much like The Polar Express.

Though the sequels featured a major Lost alert in casting Elizabeth Mitchell as Mrs. Claus, they fell short of the original Christmas favorite. With clever effects and a wondrous vision of the North Pole, The Santa Clause ranks among the best Santa movies, reinforcing everyone’s inner child.

Best line: (Scott, flying into the sunrise after his first night of toy deliveries) “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! When I get home, I’m getting a CAT scan!”

Rank: 53 out of 60

© 2014 S. G. Liput

229 Followers and Counting