Tim Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell.
Directed by Michael Lembeck.
Running Time: 100 mins
Rated: PG

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has been Santa Claus for eight years. He is considered the best Santa ever. Part of his contract, however, says that he has to be married and since his divorce some years before, he has been in breach of the deal. Santa has to find a woman to become Mrs Claus. Scott returns to his home in the USA to look for a wife, but leaves behind a Santa clone that ends up taking over the North Pole and threatening to wreck Christmas for everyone. Scott returns with a bride, deposes the clone and saves the day.

This sequel has been a long-time coming. The Santa Clause was a holiday hit in 1994 and, on the surface of it, it's hard to see why it's taken eight years for Tim Allen and the producers to reprise the role. They claim they were waiting for the right story. If that's true, I would hate to see the scripts they rejected!

The clone element is topical. The child actors who play Santa's elves are generally endearing. But a divorced Santa who neglects his son at home and is struggling to balance family and work is too much for the mythology to bear.

The costumes, special effects and the seamless edits between miniatures and sets are all very appealing.

Unfortunately, this film continues to perpetuate one of the great lies of Christmas. Reindeers who have antelopes are female and yet in this film, as in many other Christmas stories and songs, they are given boys names and referred to as "him." Even gender discrimination rears its ugly head at the North Pole.

At 100 minutes this film overstays its welcome but there are worse films around for our small children to see.

Richard Leonard SJ

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