The Santa Clause (1994)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Santa Clause</strong> (1994)

(On TV, December 2018) Amazingly enough, I managed to avoid watching The Santa Clause for nearly twenty-five years. But that ended today, on Christmas Day, as I took advantage of a recorded movie marathon for the entire trilogy. Part of why I waited so long was the conviction that I didn’t really need to see it: the premise was clear, the trailers had enough of the main jokes and with Tim Allen in the lead, I wasn’t really worth expecting more than the obvious. I still believe these things after watching the movie, but there’s really no substitute for actually watching the thing. As almost everybody knows, this is the movie where Tim Allen kills Santa and becomes cursed to become his replacement, complete with weight gain and management responsibilities over the entire North Pole toymaking complex. Beyond the premise of an ordinary man becoming Santa, the chief appeal of The Santa Clause is in trying to justify and expand on the Santa myths with semi-realistic explanations. Even when it just doesn’t make sense (you’d think that the first people to notice Santa Claus’ existence would be the parents themselves — “Hey, where did these gifts come from?”) it works hard at making sense, and you almost have to like the movie for making so much effort in justifying its fantasy. Tim Allen, despite my lack of affinity for the actor, does make a credible everyday man, and helps ground the film even further. I’m not that happy with the rather obvious divorced-parents subplot, but the rest of the film is undemanding and successful at it. Is it as bland as I thought it would be? Yes. Did I have a reasonably good time watching it? Also yes. I suspect that Christmas cheer got the better of me.

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