Any film that regards The Toothfairy as The Moleinator is in serious trouble. But that's not the only problem with "The Santa Clause 2" -- the problem is its lack of freshness and enjoyability. The first film was a real Christmas treat; funny, ocassionally rather surprisingly witty, and always with a tender side and a refreshing Holiday spirit.
The second vehicle -- though filmed eight years apart from the first -- seems like a cash-in, and nothing more. Santa (Tim Allen), a.k.a. Scott Calvin (look at the initials), is as happy as can be. He's been Santa Claus for the past eight years, and the children have been happier since he became Santa. (Who takes these polls?) But as Christmas draws closer, Scott realizes that not only is his son, Charlie, on the Naughty List, there's a second clause in the contract that states he must become married to "The Mrs. Claus" in 27 days, or he'll be history.
The head elf, Bernard, along with the help of another fellow elf (Specer Breslin, "The Cat in the Hat"), duplicates a fake Santa to watch over things as the real Scott goes home to tend to family matters. But the new Santa Claus is an evil dictator who comes to work in Hitler's outfit and demands that all children be given coal. It's the funniest part of the movie, apart from when Evil Santa says to Good Santa, "You are a sad, strange little man," which is of course a little Disney in-joke. (Tim is mimicking his own Buzz Lightyear character from Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story.")
"The Santa Clause 2" got a lot of good reviews that called it an enjoyable and charming little movie, but I missed something. The first film was something both kids and adults alike could equally enjoy. Allen was funnier, the film was funnier, and it was much more charming than this. And for a film made eight years earlier, its special effects are superior. (At the end of "2," Scott hangs off the back of Evil Santa's flying sleigh and...it simply has to be seen to be appalled by.)
There's a major plot hole in the entire idea of Santa Claus existing in our world that need not be pointed out by me -- and I won't, in case there are children reading this. But whereas the first film had fun with the notion of Santa Claus being real, "The Santa Clause 2" bashes it all over the head. Charlie cries at one point because his dad has "the best job in the world" but he is unable to tell all his friends. Boo-hoo. The thing is, "The Santa Clause 2" takes the idea of Santa Claus too far. It's not fun anymore. Just watch the first -- and far superior -- film instead.
Another thing: The first film seemed very down to earth, very simple and fun. This movie is all over the place. A television show director made "The Santa Clause 2," and it's very evident that this is so. The movie is too sporadically daffy and serious and not at all inspired. I still remember seeing the first film and being delighted by its sheer heart. This movie doesn't really have one.
I like Tim Allen's dry ironic humor because I think he knows how to make good use of it. He used it to perfection in "Home Improvement," used it even better in "The Santa Clause," voiced the witty Buzz Lightyears, and then appeared in a string of flops, including "Big Trouble" and "Who is Cletis Tout?" Here's to "Toy Story 3" -- if Pixar ever manages to break away from Disney and its stupid no-more-sequels contract.