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Yes, two hours in a phone booth CAN be made interesting!, 14 March 2003

Phone Booth is about an unsavory individual that is trapped in a

phone booth by a sniper who torments him for his misdeeds. You

may be asking yourself (as I was) "you can make this plot

interesting for 2 whole hours?!". Yes, for nearly two hours this film

encompasses a 50' area surrounding a phone booth... and it's

pretty darn good while doing it! I won't ruin any surprises by telling

you the 'twists' (such as they are), but it's a fairly well-handled film

that is an indirect (or not-so-indirect) commentary of indiscriminate

cellular phone usage and society's newer seedy underbelly (video

voyeurism, ignoring the plights of others, big city indifference,

overly aggressive police tactics, and much more). For the

trivia-minded; this film was completed quite some time ago but

was seriously delayed due to the sniper incidents in the

Washington area last year. Seems political correctness has

delayed yet another film for fear adults cannot control their own

emotions nor separate reality from fiction. Thank you censors! I

hate having to make my own decisions about what I can and

cannot 'handle'!

The acting is merely average. Colin Farrell does pretty well with

what is essentially an hour plus of facial close-ups but I never

really 'believed' his situation. Whether that was the script or the

acting is open to debate (I suspect it was the latter). The sniper is

very well-voiced by someone you'll recognize if you go to the

movies with any regularity. There are some mid-level named

actors you'll recognize and a nice surprise appearance near the

end. I personally feel the writers/editors copped out (no pun

intended) on the ending, but I'll let y'all be the judge of that. I truly

disliked the opening and ending sequences as I felt they

GREATLY detracted from what was otherwise a fairly solid,

straightforward film. The voice-overs are simply unnecessary and


There is lots of profanity, indirect drug usage and implied nudity

(mostly in the background), violence, and adult situations galore

(yup, all in a phone booth for 2 hours). Not a film for the kiddos, but

nothing there that will truly offend the sensitive (unless they are

looking to be offended or have a low tolerance for profanity). It's a

fairly original movie and that goes a long way with me these days.

Go see Phone Booth if you get the opportunity. It may not be

regarded as an 'instant classic' but it's a solid, original film that you

won't regret having paid to view.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not as bad as you might suspect!, 13 March 2003

Normally I dislike (and somewhat resent) unoriginal movies that are simply an exercise in age regression of an established franchise to target a younger consumer audience (Young Indiana Jones, Young Sherlock Holmes, Muppet Babies, et al) . This practice ruined Saturday morning for me even moreso than mandatory comic-relief characters (Scrappy Doo anyone?). To be honest I went in expecting VERY little from Agent Cody Banks which was obviously a spy genre movie targeted at consumers too old for Spy Kids and too young to get into Bond films.

The story concerns a stand-out from an experimental new government recruiting facility that takes high school kids to a 'summer camp' which is actually a high-tech training operation for young CIA operatives. Cody Banks is one of the 'graduates' of this program who is currently simply getting by in his regular routine until his country calls him up to active duty.

It seems a nerdy scientist has developed nanobots capable of eating their way through just about anything at the atomic level (originally designed to clean up oil spills in offshore disasters). Needless to say, the funding for the project is supplied by a shadowy character with plans for world domination and, of course, he has a menacing henchman (Francois - rather ironic considering the US relations with France at the moment) who does the physical dirty work on the mastermind's behalf. When the villains seek to kidnap the daughter (Duff) of the nerdy scientist to gain control over the nanobots, Cody Banks (Muniz) is called into active service and given an array of spy gear that would make Bond envious. The side 'gimmick' is that Cody is shy and cannot talk to girls which makes him 'endearing' juxtaposed to Bond's womanizing talents. In all other respects Cody is a 5' tall 15 year old James Bond.

Sounds like a Bond film? It is. Only better than the last three Bond outings (believe it or not). I am actually fairly certain the sets and props used at the end of the film are recycled from early Bond films (most notably the sub bay and mag-lev train from Moonraker and/or Man With the Golden Gun- I cannot remember which film for sure, but you'll recognize it when you see it). The plot, while COMPLETELY unoriginal, is consistent and engaging enough to hold the attention (especially if you are too young to have seen the Bond/spy movies it borrows from). The gadgets are fairly interesting and, again, while derivative of earlier franchises, are fun to see in the hands of a teenager.

The acting is fairly credible (such as it is) with a few exaggerated (and over-acted) spy film stereotypes. There's no profanity, no nudity, no drugs (though what COULD be alcohol if you wanted to see it as such), plenty of action and the requisite action-film violence (and one fairly gruesome death at the end).

This movie is targeted squarely at the 'puberty set' but is still enjoyable by all ages. My 5 year old son really enjoyed it and nothing in the film was more objectionable than what he watches on broadcast TV (perhaps less so to be honest).

I recommend this film to anyone that likes spy films and anyone looking for a 'safe' film the entire family can enjoy.

Creepy premise, but average horror film., 22 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Darkness falls is a hybridization of the ghost story and slasher genres with very little blood (I suppose for the purposes of retaining the new sought-after politically correct PG-13 rating). Regular readers will already know I'm a big horror fan so take that into account when reading my review. The story starts out with a voice-over while sepia-toned still photos are displayed telling the history of the curse of Darkness Falls; A lonely old woman is revered by the children of Darkness Falls because whenever they lose a tooth, the old woman will give them a single gold coin. This garners her the nickname "The Tooth Fairy" amongst the townsfolk. A tragedy occurs and the old woman is horribly scarred in a house fire. Her scars are very sensitive to light and her disfigurement is quite terrifying so she only goes out at night wearing a white porcelain mask. One night, two children go missing. The townsfolk blame the Tooth Fairy and subsequently hang her for the crime. With her dying breath, the Tooth Fairy curses the town of Darkness Falls saying "what I once did with love I will now do in revenge". The next day the two children are found safe and unharmed. The town of Darkness Falls covers up their guilty secret and promptly forgets about the Tooth Fairy. But, as the legend goes, when you lose your last baby tooth, the Tooth Fairy comes to claim it. If you peek (and see her) she will kill you. So begins the movie. It's a nice creepy set-up for an average horror film. The 'real' story begins years after the events of the voice-over when a young boy (appearing to be at LEAST 12 years old) loses his last baby tooth. He wakes up to a nightmare in the middle of the night and, predictably, sees the Tooth Fairy. He calls to his mother for help and, again predictably, Mom doesn't believe him. When Mom goes to show him 'there's nothing in the dark', she (predictably) gets shredded by the Tooth Fairy. The boy survives by hiding in the bathroom with the lights on. When the police arrive, they (predictably) accuse the boy of killing his mother and send him to foster care and years of hospitalization for his 'psychosis' and fear of the dark. 12 years later, the brother of his childhood love has also seen the Tooth Fairy, so the woman (predictably) contacts the only person she knows who can relate to the poor kid- her childhood sweetheart who was institutionalized for the same thing! Heck of a romance angle, eh? The 'monster' is supernatural right from the start so there is no mystery as to it's being immune to normal weapons. It's vulnerability is obvious from the beginning- light. The remainder of the movie is built upon the tired cliche that there really IS a monster hiding in the dark, but no one believes it until it's too late. The Tooth Fairy is quick and brutal, swooping around like a monstrous bird of prey that snatches her victims up into the darkness only to drop them a few seconds later lifeless and mutilated. It sounds better than it comes across on screen. The killings are a bit too 'in your face' and far too frequent. This is a monster that begs for the 'less is more' approach, but you are bombarded with Tooth Fairy attacks every few minutes. The premise is that if you 'peek' and see her that you will be killed, but if you happen to see the Tooth Fairy AT ALL, you will also be killed, so while the Tooth Fairy is chasing around the protagonists, bystanders say "what the heck is THAT?" only to wind up as fodder to up the body count shortly thereafter. The fear factor is desensitized almost immediately (which is a shame, because the premise is rather creepy). After the midway point of the film, you are no longer afraid because it's obvious, even to the characters in the movie, what must be done to survive and defeat the monster. You just get trapped waiting for the story to reach it's obvious conclusion. Another big drawback is that the Tooth Fairy makes no effort to remain hidden. This monster again, begs to be a stealthy creature, but it runs right through the middle of crowded rooms (where people inevitably see it and then subsequently must be killed). If the monster is so brazen and such a fixture of town legend, then why does no one believe it's real? Sloppy storytelling. At 90 minutes, this is not to hard to sit through. The violence occurs quickly and brutally and almost entirely off-screen. There is no nudity, little blood, and very little (if any) profanity. The acting is a bit below average but sadly, one expects less from the horror genre. The only vaguely recognizable face is Emma Caulfield who plays the female lead. As horror films go, this one hits dead center of the scale. Not very good, but enough redeeming moments to at least make it worth a viewing for horror buffs. There's nothing new, but the monster is creepy enough to warrant a peek over the shoulder for the easily scared. It's not going to be a good date film, because it's not really scary enough to get your girl to squeeze-up to you. Overall, I can only recommend it to fans of the genre and only then since horror films are few and far between these days. If you like monster movies, check it out. Otherwise, there's plenty more to see at the ole box office.

No need to quit on this film, 18 December 2002

Last night I was able to catch the preview of the new romantic comedy 2 Weeks Notice starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. The plot revolves around a pampered billionaire who has no real control over his fortune and the eco-friendly lawyer who has been opposing his corporation's every building effort (Bullock).

Grant's character, known for his sexual escapades with his 'corporate lawyers', is forced into finding a replacement for his last failed hire and runs into Bullock's character upon exiting his business. Bullock agrees to work for Grant if he agrees to save a civic center of sentimental importance to Bullock's Coney Island community.

Well, we don't go to see romantic comedies for the plot twists. Everything goes just as you'd expect it to and is surprisingly funny along the way. Refreshingly, there is a complete lack of profanity, pratfalls, and cheap laughs. Almost all the humor is rather 'honest' and comes with no mean-spirited banter or 'pre-packaged' cliches. Unfortunately, there is one bodily-function-based humor sequence which I suppose was forced into the script by some studio executive who likes that sort of thing, but otherwise the writing is well above par.

Grant is, again, simply Hugh Grant in a role that plays to his strengths (dry wit and british charm most noticably). Bullock is fairly convincing as the manic 'save-the-world' lawyer who eventually falls for her boss but she's in no danger of Oscar consideration for her role.

This film is most definately in the 'chick-flick' category so if your testosterone levels won't allow you into a theatre displaying this genre, it's a safe bet you should avoid this one, but for anyone else, I recommend 2 Weeks Notice. Its fun, funny, and a nice film to take the significant other to as an alternative to LotR II. Give it a try if you get the chance.

Bond. Lame Bond., 19 November 2002

First off, let me say that I think Pierce Brosnan makes a great Bond. Judi Dench does a great role as M and John Cleese is actually much better this time around, sans the comic relief elements of the previous film, as the new Q. I am also a fan (not of the rabid variety) of the Bond movies in general. This entry marks the 20th Bond film and marks a few anniversaries for the franchise. As films go, this one was not much to my liking. Halle Berry, while pretty and talented, just didn't fit in the customary 'Bond girl' role. It's painfully obvious that the producers are trying to create another franchise with Berry's 'Jinx' character. Unfortunately, I didn't find the character even remotely interesting. Jinx is simply a female soldier and definately lacks the 'special' part of being a special agent. I'll bet ya that you see a 00Jinx movie by 2005. The rest of the supporting cast is quite good, but much like Jinx, they are underused or misused. The most unique villain in the cast, Zao, is supposed to be a world-class bad guy, but we never see him do anything. At all. I think he throws a sucker punch at Bond in the beginning of the film and shoots at Bond from a car near the end but that's it. The film never establishes the reason that the main characters are supposed to harbor such animosity towards Zao. No Oddjob is he. He's just a cool-looking toadie (by Bond standards; and pun intended) with a lot of screen time and next to no impact on the plot. I actually felt that he was being picked on unfairly. As any afficianado knows, a hero is only as good as his villains and sadly the villains in Die Another Day are not that villainous. It might be an effort to not antagonize the general public due to the recent overreaction to terrorism and world events that make the villains so 'huggable' (I hope that's all it is). I wish the 'powers that be' would stop telling filmmakers what we moviegoers are "able to take" and just make some quality movies with some quality villains. Political correctness is ruining the film industry just as surely as it's destroying everything else. Speaking of plot, there isn't much. What plot there is is predictable and REMARKABLY similar to Goldeneye. You'll likely know the conclusion (and the 'big surprise') at about the 45 minute mark of this 2-hour film. Not that that's all bad, but you'd think they'd throw in a twist or two after 20 films. The action is outstanding. The stunts are neat. The CGI is silly (especially the parasurfing scene). There is a remarkably high level of annoying slow-motion and Matrix-style rotoscope scenes that are highly unnecessary. They don't show anything the viewer would miss at normal film speed or from the traditional framing angle. They are simply inserted into the film to meet Hollywood's bullet-time quota. It's annoying and distracting and adds nothing to the scenes involved. I look forward to Hollywood ending it's recent obsession with this camera technique. I'd say 8 out of 10 action scenes in Die Another Day have some unnecessary "Hey!Look what we can do with special effects technology!" moment. The gadgets in this film are fairly lame as well. The recently overused invisible vehicle is there along with the "what did that do again?" OO7 watch and an ultrasonic ring (the sole original gadget) that shatters bulletproof glass. Even the villains have little to work with. The big villain gadget is an electrical Nintendo controller glove the main bad guy uses to control the 'ultimate weapon' he has created. It also acts as a stun gun. Whee. I'm scared. Also of note is the soundtrack. The techno-pop chosen for this film is just "off". I think Madonna is responsible for the Cyndi Lauperish techno-trash that covers the opening an closing credits. It's not "timely" nor is it a tribute to current musical tastes. It's just "off". You'll no doubt know what I mean immediately when (and if) you see this film. The rest of the soundtrack is not much better. Different is not always an improvement. Give me more 'recycled' Bond music any day. Madonna's role in the film is brief and uneventful. I had heard there were some rumors her scenes would ruin the film. I don't think she even registered as being more significant than the bit part they gave her. Unless you're a Madonna fan, you might not even notice her. On the plus side, the set designers did an outstanding job with the Ice Palace where the end of the film takes place. It is really well-crafted and is the first Bond Set I would really like to have seen first hand (if such a thing ever existed outside of a matte-painter's imagination). I did bust out in inappropriate laughter when the thought "Sydney on Ice" popped into my head due to the Palace's resemblance to a rather famous building in Australia. All in all, this is a generic Bond film with few memorable moments or players. Consider it a placeholder in the Bond mythos if you will. There's enough here to entertain casual Bond fans and action film fans but overall, this movie just isn't scripted or directed well enough to entertain as previous Bond films have. You've likely already made up your mind whether you will see it or not, but if you are on the fence, you might do better to rent one of the older (better) bond films and save Die Another Day for when it comes out for rental or goes into the inevitable heavy cable rotation.

A fantastic sequel in all meanings of the word, 11 November 2002

As with it's predecessor, this film is fantastic (in all meanings of the word). This is one of those rare films where a sequel meets or exceeds the film it succeeds.

The cast (as with the last film) are truly outstanding in their roles. The casting director really deserves a LOT of the credit for the success of these films. Even the bit actors and actresses are exceptional. One sad note is that this will be the last Harry Potter Film with the current cast. Richard Harris (who played Albus Dumbledore) passed away recently, Chris Columbus (the director) has decided to withdraw from the series and the 'in crowd' buzz is that the trio of child-stars who starred in the first two films have reached puberty and will be too old to maintain the believability of the character ages for the third and remaining novels and will be replaced in the remaining films. If this is true, I would be reluctant to see the remaining films as I've become so enamored of the current cast and cannot imagine enjoying a "Bewitched Darren moment" when cast members suddenly change without in-plot reason and the audience is asked to pretend it hasn't happened in a film series as good as this one has proven to be.

The CGI is again outstanding. The effects vary from the utterly blatant (giant spiders, ghosts, magic, and a frightening basilisk) to the subtle (moving pictures on the wall, tattered owls, and a red-eyed cat) and convey just what they are supposed to without overwhelming one with the "HEY! LOOK AT THIS!" presentation of most big budget special effects.

This movie runs 2 hrs and 50 min. so don't drink the kidney-buster soda before the film begins. There is no nudity, and no conventional American profanity, but there are some pretty frightening scenes with the giant spiders and the basilisk and some creepy corridor scenes that might frighten younger viewers. It might be a good idea to leave the pre-schoolers home if they are easily scared or prone to nightmares.

Overall, this film is a great sequel and should not be missed by fans of the first film. While seeing the first film is not absolutely necessary to enjoy the second, it does add a LOT of information that the second film takes for granted the audience is already familiar with. If you have not seen the first film, it would be well worth your time (and a lot of fun regardless) to watch the first film before going to see the second.

Go see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It's as good or better than the original film and it picks up right where the last one left off in fun, quality and enjoyability.

Below (2002)
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Was it a ghost or wasn't it?, 4 November 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Below was another one of those films that has been 'abandoned' by the studio that created it. It got very little print advertisement and even less exposure on TV and trailers than most "fluff" horror that usually litters the cinemas.

Below has a cast of "I know that guy but I can't remember where I saw him before" types. They all turn in good performances but the lead, Bruce Greenwood, is a bit weak and reminds me of a poor-man's Rod Serling throughout the film. If he had shown a bit more emotion (or enthusiasm) this film may well have ranked among the better thriller/horror movies of the year.

The movie concerns a US sub during World War 2, the U.S.S. Tigershark, that is ordered to go pick up some survivors of a torpedoed hospital ship. Upon their arrival, there are only three survivors left. A woman and two men. If you know anything about naval lore, women on submarines is bad luck and upon the taking on of the survivors, strange things start occurring on the sub.

This film is directed by David Twohy, the same guy who directed Pitch Black. The directing is quite similar and makes for a fairly effective ghost story. The

claustrophobic nature of a submarine works rather well but is largely underused here. The strongest aspect of this film is that when it is over, you can honestly argue that there was an actual ghost or that everything that transpired was only in the minds of the people involved. This is a very impressive feat to be able to effectively pull off in this kind of film. The special effects are subtle and brief but effective at conveying what they are there to convey. There is also an alleged 'twist ending' that will become unfortunately obvious to any fan of the genre within the first twenty minutes.

No nudity. No drugs. Very little harsh language. A little bit of on-screen violence. A few charred or bloody corpses are shown to 'enhance the mood' as it were. I believe the film was rated R but it should have been PG. There is very little in this film beyond the subject matter to justify anything stronger than a PG-13. Lots of frights and more than a few 'cheap jolts'.

As I write this review, Below is already being phased out of theatres. I would encourage fans of psychological horror to catch this one on the big screen rather than wait for DVD if they want to see it. It's a lot more effective as a 'fright film' in a darkened theatre than it will be on a television screen.

If you like psychological horror, then try & catch this one before it leaves the theatres. It is a solid effort, but by no means a classic. It's very much shows the

international-influence in the horror genre though (and shows many similarities to The Ring and even moreso to The Devil's Backbone).

If you are a casual horror fan, you may still enjoy this one quite a bit. Those that don't like scary movies need not enter. At it's heart, Below is simply a tale of revenge from beyond the grave... or its it?

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Christian Theology 101, 4 November 2002

Time Changer is a rather surprising film. I had never heard anything about it. It had a rather nondescript poster with a bearded man in a bowler with watch silhouettes around him. The advertising has been nonexistent and even a trip to turned up little information.

The film, which runs about 90 minutes, concerns a bible scholar from 1890 who has just written a treatise on the affect of morals upon evolving society. He is seeking the endorsement of his seminary to legitimize and increase the sales of his book upon it's publication. The endorsement must be unanimous but a professor, who has been 'ill' recently comes into the meeting late and refuses to give his endorsement. The reasoning is that the treatise states that morals will benefit society regardless of how they are presented. The professor maintains that morals only have meaning if they reaffirm their origin and authority from the Lord (as in Jesus Christ/10 commandments).

This is the single most religious film I have ever seen. If you are not a Christian (in the 'saved' sense) or are easily offended by religious content, then avoid this movie at all costs. There is more religious theory and theology in this 90 minutes than in a month worth of weekly masses. You have been warned.

The movie plays like a very long 'after school special'. The lead actor, D. David Morin is very wooden in his role and speaks like a stereotypical Mormon with little emotion. He is either a VERY consistent actor or a very poor one. I honestly couldn't tell which. Hal Linden (Barney Miller) and Gavin McLeod (Cap'n Stubing of the Love Boat) have excellent supporting roles and steal the scenes they are in. Paul Rodriguez has a repeating cameo as a laundromat clerk.

As time travel movies go, this is actually a pretty good one and has possibly my favorite ending for a time travel film, but since it targets a Christian audience, it's appeal will be very limited since most of the comparisons and conclusions have to do with the recession of religion in modern society and it's perceived 'fatal consequences' (in a spiritual sense).

Despite a previous reviewer's claims, there is no nudity whatsoever, no profanity, and no violence. This is about as 'clean' as a movie can get. As a matter of fact, a segment of this film goes into Hollywood's withdrawal from religious fundamentals being presented in feature films and how that affects Christians by and large.

I won't spoil the film for those that may go see it, but there are very few surprises in the plot and no real curves. It is simply a commentary on religion and society using time travel as it's "hook". If you make it to the end, and know something about the Rapture in Christian mythology, you will likely appreciate the 'dire' nature of the final scene. As a film, it's very much a visual religious tract, but it does have a few interesting observances and presents them in a straightforward manner (though not necessarily "enjoyable").

If you are looking for a religious film with no objectionable material, then this is your movie. If you like time travel movies, it might be worth your time to stick through this one. If you are not religious or don't like having Christian beliefs force fed to you, then by all means avoid this movie like the biblical plague.

I Spy (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I Spy Something Brown and Smelly, 4 November 2002

Where to begin? I-Spy is the most recent of Hollywood's newest

travesty of "recreating" older films and/or TV properties for modern

audiences. Lemme tell ya, I can hardly wait for the new Starsky

and Hutch movie!

I-Spy was originally a slick spy parody starring 'Mr. Puddin Pop' Bill

Cosby and Robert Culp as the original interracial buddy spies.

2002's incarnation stars Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson in the

starring roles. Owen Wilson has been rather prolific of late and

this seems to be the inevitable 'meeting contractual obligations'

write-in job. Unlike a "real movie" both actors portray themselves

rather than inhabiting any written roles. Owen Wilson is the same

droll character you saw in Zoolander or Shanghai Noon. Eddie

Murphy is Eddie Murphy as a boxer-turned-spy and, if you can

believe this, is even MORE annoying than usual in this egocentric

referring-to-self-in-the-third-person role.

I usually like both Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy though I wish

some director would "grow a pair" and force Mr. Murphy to return to

his Golden Child and Beverly Hills Cop days as an actual actor.

Whenever he is allowed to ad lib, the movie suffers. A lot. Robin

Williams, he is not. Both men are accomplished actors so why

does tripe like I-Spy get made, let alone released?

To make a long story short(er), I-Spy is abysmally bad. Bad acting.

Bad story. Bad script. Boring action. No nudity. No blood. Boring

fight scenes. Boring spy gadgets. Lame dialogue. Boring chase

sequences. Misuse of Malcolm McDowell as a villain (yes, it's

been proven possible now). Name a "movie-killer" and chances

are this movie has it in ample amounts. The film runs about 90

min or so and is rated PG-13.

Overall, this movie is pretty much unwatchable. It would make a

good double-feature with Ishtar or Best Defense in how to

over-hype and under-deliver in a feature film. I can't honestly

recommend this film to anyone, especially fans of Wilson or

Murphy. If you want to waste $7+, send it to me. It's a better way to

waste your money than seeing this film and I'll even send you a

thank-you note.=chuckle=

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Worthy Sequel, 30 October 2002

For those who don't already know, in the first film (The Santa Clause), Tim Allen's character inadvertantly causes the demise of Santa Claus. He finds a business card in Santa's coat that describes the titular 'Santa Clause'- whoever puts on the magic coat will become the next Santa Claus and so the movie went on to describe an everyman's transformation into a Christmas legend.

The sequel concerns some fine print hidden in the border of said business card that can only be seen with a powerful magnifying lens. It states that Santa must be married by the next Christmas (in the film). It's called "the Missus Clause" of course.

The film has 3 plotlines. First, Santa needs to find a wife. Second, Santa's son is in trouble with the Principal and isconsequently on Santa's 'naughty' list. Finally, there is an evil Santa duplicate trying to take over Santa's workshop at the North Pole while the 'real' santa is taking care of plotlines 1 and 2.

The film is well acted and quite charming. There are several clever quips and a bunch of amusing cameos. The story is a bit disjointed at times and the pacing is somewhat flawed. The final 3rd of the film seemed terribly rushed to me and several of the subplots are resolved without much explanation or sense.

By and large, this film is a worthy successor to the original Santa Clause though not quite as good as the original. It's a great family film with plenty to keep both children and adults amused and runs about two hours (with some amusing antics during the end credits). Unfortunately, the marketing bigwigs released it in October (no doubt to try and get the DVD on shelves in time for 'real' Christmas) which makes it feel a bit premature and out of place in the throws of Halloween and pre-Thanksgiving celebrations all about.

If you enjoy 'family films' or light comedies, then by all means go see Santa Clause 2. It really is "fun for the whole family" if you can get by the odd choice of release date.

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