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Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. The stores put out their holiday displays before Halloween. The toy catalogues start coming before Thanksgiving, and this year so did the holiday movies. I'm usually opposed to this sort of commercial, extend the season to extend the profit type of Yuletide hype. However, if it always came in the form of a really cute family movie, I suppose it wouldn't be so bad. The Santa Clause 2, starring Tim Allen (Joe Somebody, Home Improvement), was so good, this anti-pre-season-it's too early for Christmas grinch went out and did her Christmas shopping the very next day.

The Santa Clause 2 is the sequel to The Santa Clause (1994), and continues the story of Scott Calvin, a man who must become the new Santa Claus after the original falls off his roof. Now, eight years later, Calvin is the best Santa yet. Studies have shown that children are 86 percent happier. This Christmas, however, doesn't look like it is going to be so merry. First of all, Charlie (Eric Lloyd, Luminous Motion, Dunston Checks In), Calvin's son is on the naughty list after defacing school property (it was very beautiful graffiti, I must say). Then, his top two elves, Bernard (David Krumholtz, The Mexican) and Curtis (Spencer Breslin, Disney's The Kid), inform him that if he doesn't find a wife in the next 28 days he can no longer be Santa. The clock is ticking and the "Desantification" process is underway. Calvin must now take care of Charlie, find a wife, and tend to the North Pole all at the same time. In order to help him out, Curtis creates a giant, walking, talking, thinking toy Santa to take care of the workshop for him. Something isn't quite right in pseudo-Santa's plastic brain, however, and he soon becomes rule obsessed and slightly addicted to cocoa. Needles to say, this causes even more trouble for the real Santa and hilarity for the audience. It also poses one big question: Can he save Christmas?

The Santa Clause 2 is a very funny movie. I haven't laughed that hard at a "G" movie since I was a little kid. Although some of the jokes are a little forced, others completely make up for it. Towards the end I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. Tim Allen is completely lovable as Santa (that's why they give him the big belly) and this movie brings back some hysterical favorites, particularly Neal (Judge Reinhold, Beverly Hills Cop), Charlie's psychologist stepfather. Viewers are also introduced to some great new characters like Lucy, Charlie's half-sister (Liliana Mumy, Scrubs), and Chet the new reindeer. Both are adorable and very funny. The Santa Clause 2 is a movie that appeals to the six year old in all of us and is great to see with family or friends.

P.S. Check out the website at http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/santaclause2. It is a ton of fun and includes games, a quiz to see if you were naughty or nice this year, and a chance to write to Santa himself. I challenge the reader to beat my score of 16 toys in the Elf Training Game.


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