Time: 104 mins.
SYNOPSIS: Scott Calvin has been Santa Claus for the past eight years, and his loyal elves consider him the best Santa ever. But Santa's got problems: his son Charlie has landed on this year's "naughty" list and he has to get married before Christmas or lose his job as Santa. Desperate to help his son, Scott heads back home, leaving a substitute Claus to watch over things at the Pole. But when the substitute institutes some strange redefinitions of naughty and nice, putting Christmas at risk, it's up to Scott to return with a new bag of magic and a wife to save Christmas.
BOTTOM LINE: This is one of those films that probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but just doesn't quite have enough plot to sustain the contiuation of the story. The first film was a great mix of holiday spirit, clever concept and broad physical comedy. Because they were establishing the idea and the characters the film had more moments for Allen and company to shine. This sequel is a one trick pony and no one, except for Elizabeth Mitchell, seems to be excited by the proceedings. They try to add some of the same special effects magic from the first film only in reverse with Allen going from Santa's jolly fat self back to his old persona, which isn't as impressive a transformation since we already know what he looks like in the real world. That Santa has to find a wife in 3 weeks or Christmas will be cancelled is a good idea, it's just not fleshed out enough.
Scott/Santa goes on one bad date (with the always brilliant Molly Shannon) and then immediately gets thrown into the arms of Mitchell, who plays his teenage son's super strict school principal. Sure, she initially dislikes him – and isn't as alarmed as she should be by his rapidly changing appearance – however he changes her mind with just the right Christmas gift and a sleigh ride. How sweet. It's just too easy and with the ending in sight a half hour in, it became more than a bit tedious as one waits for the inevitable. She's freaked out when he claims to be Santa, but nobody's perfect and her dismay lasts all of 5 seconds. A few more blind dates would have added some much needed comedy and a bit more tension to the works. Will he find the right woman? Obviously. Unfortunately, it was the one right in front of him. Frankly I was bored.
They try to fill out the film with a silly plot by a life-size Santa robot – created by the head elf to hide Santa's absence – who then takes over the North Pole and tries to ruin Christmas by stopping toy production and giving everyone in the world a lump of coal. While the makeup on Allen as the Faux Santa is pretty impressive, the rest of this storyline is incredibly lame. Even the final battle is lackluster. This is a film you will only see on television during the holiday season for a good reason. The good will generated by the first film caused me to check this one out in the hopes of generating a bit of holiday cheer. Accept no substitutes.