Film Reviews

Christmas Favorites: The Santa Clause (1994)

Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, David Krumholtz

Director: John Pasquin

A divorced Dad has his kid for Christmas Eve and it’s not going well, when an accident means he becomes Santa Claus. Over the course of the next year, he learns some lessons about being a Dad and about Christmas.

What Is It?

Tim Allen, with his show Home Improvement, was big in the 90’s, poking fun at masculine ideals and tropes. He was funny, a bit brash and likable. In this film, he basically plays the same character, a guy who cares about his work and makes misguided attempts to be a traditional Dad. The divorced Dad felt very 90’s and the suburban meets the magical was the focus of this film.

Why Do I Love This One?

When I was a kid, I loved the magic in this film. I wanted to make friends with a reindeer and I liked the way the elves in the North Pole live. The humour felt modern but the imagery was classic. A lot of the jokes went over my head. Watching this then, I related to the kid, and I liked the idea that your Dad could become Santa. It’s cute.

I think I like it now because of a lot of the same things, but I realise it’s a lot more about parenting. Tim Allen’s character is pretty unreliable and while he grows as a person as he becomes Santa, he also faces losing custody. I love how much he hates his ex-wife’s new husband. With his terrible sweaters and pop psychology. A lot more of the joking asides make me laugh now. It’s a fun play on the idea that Christmas movies are about family, but by the 90’s, family looked very different. So that’s fun.

So, I think this one gets me because it has 90’s joking cynicism with a bit of classic magical Christmas stuff. I like watching his grow a beard and get huge and all the little changes that come over him as he slowly becomes Santa Clause. He’s so salty about everything, and then he starts to see the world a different way. It’s nice. I also love that the film never addresses a basic concept: someone died in that accident on the roof that night. The elves move on with no greif, and if Tim Allen makes a misstep, he’ll die and be seamlessly replaced. It’s so odd. Who was that guy who died? And why do we not care about him?

A lovely Christmas story that has all the magic and pulls on the heartstrings, but is 90’s modern and very funny too.


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