The Santa Clause was definitely one of the top 10 films of my childhood, somewhere after Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Ladybugs, Camp Nowhere, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, and nestled in between all three Mighty Ducks movies. Tim Allen was the shit back in the day, particularly because he was the father of my number one favorite actor/BOP cover boy JTT. So I have fond memories of this movie, but after not watching it in at least a decade, I have to say it was kinda…boring. I guess I was expecting that awesome childhood flashback I get when I watch Kevin Arnold slide down his front stairs or catch a rerun of Clarissa Explains it All, but it never really surfaced. Regardless, I will do my best to recap what I once considered cinematic gold in 1994.
The movie starts out at a Christmas Party, where Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is getting honored for being salesman of the year. Coincidentally, Scott Calvin works for a toy company and his initials are S.C. (Get it? S.C.=Santa Clause. I know I just blew your mind right there). Scott gives a speech that basically tells his colleagues to keep it in their pants and not to drink and drive. LAME. What kind of boring Christmas party is this? Anyways, he apparently gets festive too long and is running late to meet up with his ex-wife and son.
Scott calls his ex on his cell phone and does some creative swerving and honking to convince her that he’s stuck in a traffic jam. I only mention this because I had to pause and remind myself that they did have cell phones in 1994. I just thought cell phones at that time were limited to spies, billionaires, and Zack Morris.
ANYWAY, Scott makes it home and his ex-wife, kid, and her new man (Judge Reinhold, I miss you), are impatiently waiting. Scott and the ex-wife (Laura) clearly do not have a great relationship. Scott is informed that his son Charlie knows that GASP, there is no Santa Claus. Great move, brainiac. I figured out Santa Claus wasn’t real when I was 8 but I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted more presents. DUH. Anyway, Scott and Laura bicker about the Santa Claus issue, and Charlie boo-hoos that they fight all the time. BTW, did I mention that Charlie is a little pain in the butt? I meant seriously, I cannot stand the kid. He cries to his mom that he does not want to stay with his dad, and that she better be back by sunrise to pick him up. His mom quickly agrees, and we have a future entitled SOB on our hands.
Scott tries to make a gourmet Christmas dinner but the turkey keeps catching on fire. Charlie manages to rub it in that his stepdad, Neal, is an incredible cook. Thanks for the rave review, jerk. I know I always rely on the culinary opinions of an 8 year old. Scott takes Charlie out instead, but being that it’s Christmas Eve, the only thing open is Denny’s. Charlie throws a little temper tantrum, which is just unbelievable. When I was that age, I would have given my left arm to eat at Denny’s over a holiday turkey. I probably would still choose Denny’s. Turkey is a dry bird.
The whole evening is a wash, so Scott puts Charlie to bed and reads him “The Night Before Christmas”. Charlie has about a billion questions. “What does arose mean? What is a clatter?” Have you ever heard of a dictionary? I’m just kidding. What an annoying amazing kid.
In the middle of the night, Charlie is suddenly awakened by a clatter on the roof. He excitedly wakes his Dad, who asks him if he knows the number for 911. LOL. He’s 8, not retarded. Scott runs outside to see who’s on the roof and startles a very fat man in a Santa Costume who falls off. You just murdered Santa! Run, bitch, run! Charlie of course witnesses everything. In order to prevent early onset PTSD, Scott decides to frisk Santa to “see some ID”. I know all cat burglars dressed in Santa costumes on Christmas Eve carry ID on them.
Santa’s body magically vanishes and all that is left is the suit and a card that says “put on the suit. The reindeer will know what to do.” While Scott is frantically trying to figure out how to explain this one to the police, a ladder to the roof magically appears and Charlie climbs up it. Scott grabs the suit and rushes up after him, lest his one and only get eaten by a reindeer.
Speaking of reindeer, Comet has an attitude problem.
What the F is this, amateur hour? When’s lunch?
After a bunch of back and forth arguing, Charlie convinces Scott to put on the suit. The reindeer fly Scott and Charlie to a house and they make their first stop. After some confusion, Scott grabs the bag of gifts, which floats him to above the chimney. He magically shrinks to squeeze into the chimney and tumbles on down. He throws a couple presents out of the sac, activating the alarm system. He runs back into the fireplace and flies back up to the roof to the sound of a shotgun blasting. Just kidding, this is a Disney movie, remember? Speaking of which, you know who would have made this movie better? Nickelodeon. There would at least be a few fart jokes thrown in.
At the next house, there is no chimney, just a pipe coming out of the roof. Scott is like, bitch please, this is not gonna happen! But it works! He squeezes through the pipe and a makeshift fireplace appears out of thin air. At this house, a little girl is sleeping on the couch. She has a few questions, primarily, why is Santa not old and not fat? Red flags #1 and #2, girl. You better run! Anyways Scott is super pissed off and basically tells her to shove it where the sun don’t shine. He also spits out her cookie and calls her a whore. Geez, Scott, relax! Who knew people got so offended over being called not fat! Does Santa have an eating disorder?
After this house, however, Scott starts to get the hang of it. Scott and Charlie fly over multiple cityscapes that all look like Chicago to me. Charlie is shitting his pants in excitement and Scott starts to relax and have fun. As dawn breaks, Scott pronounces them done and tells the reindeer to take them home.
Instead of taking them home, the sleigh lands in a snowy atmosphere with a pole sticking out of the ground. Scott wonders where the hell they are and Charlie half-hazardly guesses the North Pole. I wonder what gave it away? Scott is pissed but his protests fall on deaf ears, as he and Charlie are taken into the inner workings of the elves’ workshops.
The elves in this movie are little kids with pointy ears, except they’re apparently all over 1000 years old and have showed no signs of aging. Not a bad gig if you can get it. The elves are already working furiously on next year’s crop of toys, and are lead by their slave driver, Bernard. I take that not a bad gig thing back, this place is rough. It’s Christmas day! Don’t the elves get a day off? Are there labor laws in the North Pole?
Bernard is the somewhat leader of this place, but he reports to Santa so he can’t really give Scott any instructions. He’s also super sarcastic, and I just figured out who he is! He was Cameron’s nerdy AV club friend from 10 Things I Hate About You! See?
OMG. Funniest still ever.
Bernard gives Charlie a magic snow globe that has Santa’s reindeer fly through it. Charlie is of course bouncing off the walls with excitement over this place. Bernard meanwhile tells Scott that he has until Thanksgiving to get fat and cut ties with his former life, because he is now Santa Clause. Apparently that card from earlier had a “clause” in it in microprint that legally binds Scott to have a belly like a bowl full of jelly FOR-EH-VAH. (Oh yeah, that reminds me. The Sandlot is pushing this movie out of the top 10.)
To appease Scott, Judy, a cute little elfin girl, shows him to bed where she has thoughtfully laid out SC pajamas. She makes him a 1400 year perfected brand of hot chocolate and helps transition Scott to Santa.
Next thing we know, Scott is back in his own bed in his own home. He awakens in the tell-tale jammies but tries to convince himself it was all a dream. The dreaded ex shows up before he can figure anything out and Charlie blah blahs the whole story to his mom and stepdad. Although Scott tries to cover with the dream story, mom and stepdad clearly disapprove.
This is the part of the movie that kinda dragged for me, so I’m going to summarize really quickly. Basically, Charlie won’t STFU about the Santa thing. He tells his whole class on career day that his dad is Santa Claus. The school psychologist gets involved and mom and stepdad are super concerned. Meanwhile, Scott/Santa is gaining a whole mess of weight and is growing a bushy beard that grows back as soon as Scott shaves. Mom and stepdad get more and more upset and believe that Scott is delusional and endangering their son. Scott asks Charlie to keep the whole situation on the DL but Charlie cannot keep a secret. The court intervenes and Scott is separated from Charlie. Also, Scott gets fired for being fat and ugly.
Thanksgiving comes. Scott shows up at his ex’s house and asks to see Charlie for a few minutes. Bernard appears and says it’s time to G-O. Charlie asks to go with, and before you know it, they have all disappeared. Scott went from everyday toy company salesman to murder and kidnapper in one year. Bet you didn’t see that coming in a Disney flick.
While down on earth, a massive manhunt for a fat man in Santa Suit and his kidnapped son ensues, Scott, Charlie, and the elves are prepping for the Christmas season. Everything is all set to go for Christmas Eve, but when Scott comes down to earth to deliver some toys, the police are waiting. They bust in on Scott and arrest him, but fail to notice the kid and reindeer on the roof. Meanwhile, the E.L.F.S. police fly in on their jetpacks and save Charlie from the roof. They come into the jail and use all-purpose tinsel to bust Scott Out.
Today on Martha Stewart Living: Tinsel–Holiday Decoration or Prison Shank?
The E.L.F.S. decide to bring Scott and Charlie to Charlie’s mom’s house. The re-uniting begins and all is forgiven. Yeah, it was really that easy. Bernard informs Charlie that he can use the snow globe to summon his dad whenever he wants. Just in the Nick of time (you like that pun? Yeah?), Scott disappears off to finish his route before the 5-0 find him. Charlie summons him like 10 seconds later and his mom agrees to let Charlie finish out the route for old time’s sake.
And that’s pretty much it! Although this movie ended up not being as good as I remembered, at least it made me realize I want to watch 10 Things I Hate About You again. I hope you enjoyed my recap of the Santa Clause. You can catch me in the Gossip Girl recaps. Thanks guys!