The Santa Clause (1994)


USA. 1994.


Director – John Pasquin, Screenplay – Leo Benvenuti & Steve Rudnick, Producers – Robert Newmeyer, Brian Reilly & Jeffrey Silver, Photography – Walt Lloyd, Music – Michael Convertino, Visual Effects Supervisor – John E. Sullivan, Visual Effects – Buena Vista Visual Effects, Mechanical Effects – Alec Gillis & Tom Woodruff Jr, Special Effects Supervisor – Bob Hall, Production Design – Carol Spier. Production Company – Disney/Outlaw Productions


Tim Allen (Scott Calvin), Eric Young (Charlie Calvin), Wendy Crewson (Laura Miller), Judge Reinhold (Dr Neil Miller), David Krumholtz (Bernard), Paige Tamada (Judy)


Toy company executive Scott Calvin investigates a noise on the roof of his house and is startled to find Santa and a team of reindeer up there. However, Santa trips and falls and is killed. Scott finds a card on the body that says in case of injury he is to put the Santa suit on. After doing so, he discovers that he has not read the fine print on the card and that by putting the suit on has enacted the Santa Clause, which means that he is now to become Santa. He wakes in the morning to find he has put on 45 pounds overnight, has grown a beard and that his hair has turned white – and realizes that he is physically transforming into Santa. Meanwhile, his ex-wife thinks he is going crazy and tries to have custody of his son taken away from him.

The Santa Clause gives the impression of having been designed as a throwaway Christmas-vehicle that had set out to exploit the popularity of Tim Allen, the star of tv’s hit Home Improvement (1991-9). In almost any other circumstances, The Santa Clause would have been a Christmas season tv movie, of which dozens are made every year end. The shoddiness of the film conveys the clear impression that Disney were thinking of it as a throwaway effort that would drag money in from the kids and had no idea that Tim Allen’s popularity was such that it would bring adults and teen audiences in too. The Santa Clause ended up being a surprise success and even spawned two sequels (see below).

The sentiments throughout The Santa Clause are banal. The film conveys some emotion in a soft-headed way but it is predictable – inevitably Judge Reinhold and Wendy Crewson’s characters get delivered the wiener whistle and the Mystery Dating Game they never received as kids; Tim Allen gets to make the requisite anti-military toys speech and so on. The only source of relief from the film’s dullness is Tim Allen himself who cracks snide one-liners likeably. He is the only thing The Santa Clause has going for it.

There were two sequels, also with Tim Allen and most of the cast here, with The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006).

Actors: , , , , ,
Themes: , , , ,