By Kevin Carr | December 5, 2003

“The Santa Clause 2” picks up eight years after the events of the original “The Santa Clause.” Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is now fully ensconced in his role as Saint Nick. As he and his bevy of elves get ready for the Christmas season, the two lead elves Bernard (David Krumholtz) and Curtis (Spencer Breslin) lay some heavy news on the big guy. According to the contract he agreed to when he became Santa Claus, Scott also agreed that he would find a wife within eight years – a Missus Clause.
Without a new Mrs. Claus, the de-Santification process begins. Scott starts to lose his beard and his belly – as well as his special Santa magic. If he doesn’t find a wife by Christmas Eve, Santa Claus will cease to exist. To make matters worse, he finds out that his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) is on the naughty list this year. In order to allow Santa to leave the North Pole during the busiest time of the year, Curtis uses a new toy-making machine to make a giant toy Santa to take his place (which ended up running amuck).
Scott heads back home to check up on his son and find a new wife. It doesn’t hurt that all of his problems are rolled into one solution because Charlie’s principal Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell) happens to be really, really hot. So as Scott Calvin (now almost totally de-Santified) tries to smooth out his relationship with his son, he also uses his last resources of Santa magic to woo Carol.
The first thing I actually noticed about the new “Santa Clause” movie was its much tamer G rating. Usually a G rating would be box office poison for any movie that isn’t animated. Even some of the Disney cartoons have moved into the PG realm.
Fortunately, the G rating of “The Santa Clause 2” isn’t an indicator of an overly sanitized movie. It’s a cute family film that can be enjoyed by both kids and parents. There’s quite a few wrinkles in the plot and characters, but considering how few decent live-action G-rated family films there are out there, “The Santa Clause 2” rises above so many others. Not a great movie, but definitely a safe movie for the family, and it doesn’t feel like it fell out of the Disney Channel cookie cutter.
The story itself is a bit of a stretch, compared to the original clever premise of the first one. But it’s a better attempt than most forced sequels. And not only can the whole family enjoy the film, the special features are tame enough (and probably more appealing to) a younger audience. While there are some impressive special effects, beware of the excruciatingly bad animatronic reindeer that look like nothing more than overgrown hand puppets.
While the DVD has an appreciable amount of special features and extras, they all play out like a sketch comedy gag that gets old fast. Most are approached as if the crew was shooting documentaries at the real North Pole with the real elves and the real Santa. I’ve seen this sort of tongue-in-cheek attitude in other featurettes elsewhere, and it can play funny for a couple minutes. However, practically every extra on the disk diligently and annoyingly follows this not-so-clever set-up.
Even the director’s commentary is done in this vein. For videophiles like me, this makes the commentary completely useless. This would be forgivable if this was an Easter-egg track and there was a true commentary, but to hear Michael Lembeck giggle to himself as he talks about getting the rights to shoot at the real North Pole and what it’s like to deal with 900 year old elves gets old really fast and quickly becomes irritating.
Another special feature that falls flat from this overused joke are “candid” interviews in character with other legendary figures like the Tooth Fairy, Mother Nature and the Easter Bunny. The disc also contains several interactive DVD games, which are usually pretty lame but can be fun for the kids.
Although the commentary is ruined by Lembeck not letting go of the joke, the other behind-the-scenes features are fun. The deleted scenes are insightful and feature Lembeck in rare honest moments when he’s not trying to be overly clever. There is also a gag reel that is pretty funny and shows that things seemed to be a lot of fun on the set.

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