The Santa Clause (1994)
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Then on Christmas Eve, which Charlie is spending with Scott, a strange thing happens. There's a clatter on the roof, and Scott rushes outside to investigate, where he discovers a man in a red suit clamoring about on the roof of his two-story house. As Scott watches, the man loses his footing and falls into the snow on the front lawn. And to Scott's amazement, it's Santa Claus! Or at least a guy dressed up like Santa, and he's not in very good shape at the moment. Lying there on his back, the man hands Scott a card with instructions written on it about what to do in this particular situation. `Put on the suit,' it says, `The reindeer will know what to do.' And when Scott looks back up at the roof, what he sees concludes what Neal would probably call an SEE (Significant Emotional Experience), and though he doesn't realize it at the moment, his life is about to change forever...
And with that, Pasquin goes on to tell the story of Scott Calvin's amazing odyssey, which puts a humorous, and at times poignant, spin on this contemporary and highly imaginative rendition of the Santa Claus story, which offers much more than merely a fresh face on an old tale. The Santa angle has that universal appeal that will attract viewers initially, but what makes this story really accessible is the reality which lies beneath the fantasy. The relationships examined in this film-- the whole situation with Scott, Charlie, Laura and Neal-- are quite common in our modern world, and that obstacle in the lives of these characters puts a necessary balance in the story that makes it more than just another Christmas fantasy. It puts an edge on the sentimentality that would've been over-the-top had Scott, for example, been a happily married man with a text book family life. That would've been good for maybe a one hour T.V. special on a Tuesday night, whereas this story and the way it's presented is unique and lends itself well to full length motion picture status.
When you think of Tim Allen, you don't necessarily think in terms of Santa Claus-- his Tim Taylor, `Home Improvement' persona is simply too far-reaching (there are, in fact, some `in' jokes sprinkled subtly throughout this film, like when Scott, in Santa's workshop, picks up a toy tool belt and holds it up to himself)-- but it actually becomes a positive here, and another part of the appeal of this film. it establishes Scott as a real person, an average guy attempting to cope with the everyday problems of everyday life. And it keeps the core of the story grounded, which ultimately makes the fantasy work while giving it heart. So, in retrospect, Allen was a perfect choice for the role of Scott Calvin, and in the long run this just may turn out to be one of his most memorable roles (which is somewhat ironic, as this was Allen's big screen debut), because this is certainly the kind of film that is bound to make a lot of people's annual `holiday movies to watch' list, falling into that category of films you can watch over and over again every Christmas season, like `A Christmas Story.' `Christmas Vacation,' `A Christmas Carol' and `It's A Wonderful Life.' All films which, though certainly diverse, have at their center the spirit of Christmas along with family values and traditions, and all told in a way that enables the viewer to readily identify with the characters and the story, which is exactly what this film does.
Eric Lloyd turns in a good performance as Charlie, making his character believable while keeping him positive despite the conflicts which surround him, and Crewson and Reinhold are solid in their respective roles, as well. But in supporting roles, the standout performances come from David Krumholtz, as Bernard, Santa's Head Elf, and Paige Tamada, who is endearing as Judy, the Little Elf.
Rounding out the supporting cast are Peter Boyle (Mr. Whittle), Mary Gross (Miss Daniels), Larry Brandenburg (Detective Nunzio), Judith Scott (Susan), Jayne Eastwood (Judy, the Waitress) and Joyce Guy (Principal Compton). An entertaining and ultimately uplifting movie, `The Santa Clause' is funny and enjoyable and has a lot to offer in the way of family entertainment, the kind of film adults and kids alike are going to appreciate. And it may even make you believe in some things you hadn't even considered before-- but that's for you to figure out as you watch the movie. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 8/10.
This movie is a holiday classic. Tim Allen is really funny, and the movie is non stop entertaining and fun. This is one movie that I can watch over and over without getting bored, at any time of the year. Simply a holiday classic. Great for the family. 10/10!
The simple premise is executed well and Pasquin excels in making a film that appeals to all ages.
Tim Allen plays his part to perfection and has never been funnier. He captures all the heart that the film needs as well as having an excellent on screen rapport with young Eric Lloyd.
All the other cast members are good in their roles with David Krumholtz being the standout.
Overall a fantastic film that for me truly sums up the spirit of Christmas. Although I like the sequels that followed this film this is the true classic of the series.
I do not like Tim Allen as a person but I can put that aside and still enjoy this film. In this film Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa's place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he's dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn't a dream after all - - and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do.
This film really works and works well, It is a modern tale about family and having faith in others even when they might not have it themselves!
The laughs come very frequently and there is Charm to spare. I love this movie!
This is about how Scott Calvin, a divorcée dad, becomes the new Santa Claus. Once he accepts his new role, he has the impossible task of telling his family.
I think Tim Allen was pretty good here. I know he's not the best actor, but he's still pretty decent. I was happy to see Wendy Crewson and Judge Reinhold.
Overall, this is a good Christmas tale that is wonderful to show during the holiday season. I'm going to see it and the two sequels every Christmas. I rate this film 8/10.
Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, a workaholic divorced parent who cannot connect with his young son. And he desperately wants to, both for his son and to offset the influence of Mom's new boyfriend. But Scott can't do anything right. Then on Christmas Eve Scott accidentally kills Santa Clause. Funny, huh? The clause in the title is not a misspelling, but refers to the legal clause that requires anyone who offs Santa to take his place. This is cleverly done, although it is a bit maudlin. Well guess what happens? Scott learns the (non-religious) meaning of Christmas, bonds with his son, discovers himself make that a lot maudlin.
In 1994 Tim Allen was riding high with his hit TV show, Home Improvement, and in The Santa Clause he plays Tim Allen playing Tim Allen playing Santa Clause. No stretch here. And the rest of the cast is just there as a foil for Tim. And the plot, however clever, just wasn't very entertaining to this reviewer. Actually, this minority commentator didn't like The Santa Clause very much at all, and certainly can't recommend it to anyone.
All in all, this is a nice film. It's completely harmless to children, the comedy works every time, and the story is very endearing and will make your child even more anxious for next year's Christmas.
What I hate most about this film is its smarminess. Disney Studios has the ability, and the money, to make good comedies -- for example, its recent effort _The Kid_ was witty and entertaining. But in lowest-common denominator efforts like _The Santa Clause,_ the Studio chucks all reliance on plot, character, or invention, and relies instead on what it imagines children will find amusing. When Tim Allen first encounters Santa's reindeer, it's a no-brainer that one of them will be flatulent; hey, kids just love flatulence jokes! When Tim as Santa drinks a glass of milk, of course he thinks it's turning sour! Kids just adore gross-out humor! Everything in the movie is on autopilot, including the de rigeur badguy, the lame fat jokes, the whiny kid who saves the day and crawls under your skin like a parasite, and the treacly, nauseating ending in which I guess we are supposed to learn the true meaning of Christmas.
No films anger me as much as mediocre films -- films that are not willing to take a chance. It is amazing how this film can take such a gruesome premise and play it off as a joke -- there is not even a moment's mourning for the passing of poor St. Nicholas. In the ideal world, Frank Capra would rise from the dead and slap the snot out of Tim Allen for making such a cruel and lukewarm holiday film.
The script is full of one-liners that Allen tosses off with comic skill. His father role is played for laughs but also has his tender side when moments call for it. His needling of JUDGE REINHOLD about his awful sweaters becomes a running joke. So do many of the other amusing moments in a script that is both clever and highly original. ERIC LLOYD proves to be an appealing child actor as the boy who urges his father to be a substitute Santa.
To get a flavor of the dialog, just take a look at the "quotes" from the film on the Quote page.
It's handsomely produced in wonderful color to give the film its winter atmosphere (filmed in Canada).
Summing up: It's worth going along for the ride. A charming Christmas fantasy with lots of amusing situations. Brisk entertainment for the masses, it inspired a couple of sequels.
***1/2 out of ****
This turned out to be yet another modern-day "family film" that had all the typical Disney features: a story based on a character who lies frequently; a number of subtle sex jokes (such as obscene telephone numbers), a snotty and unrealistic lead kid who uses an unrealistic vocabulary and is shown to be more mature than his bumbling Dad. (Intelligence, loving fathers are never found in these PC fiasco's). And, of course, we have the divorced family: the only kind Hollywood knows.
Other than that, it's a nice holiday family film!