Making the Grades
Ever wondered how Santa can possibly get to every home on earth in one night? The Santa Clause has the answers: He only delivers to those that believe, he uses advanced physics to alter the time continuum, and not everyone celebrates Christmas on the same day.
Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, a recently divorced father who learns that you should never startle Santa while he is on your roof. After tumbling to the ground, Calvin and his son Charlie have a dead Santa on the front lawn, and eight reindeer on the house. Searching the man for identification, all Calvin can come up with is a card that tells the holder to put on the suit and take over, leaving the two with the task of finishing off Santa's overnight deliveries.
This movie has a surprising freshness considering the subject has been done countless times. More than just visual effects (and there are plenty of those), this film is well written and doesn't take the easy "it was only a dream" way out. After a long night of delivering presents, the elves instruct Calvin to, "Take the next eleven months to get your life in order, and report back at Thanksgiving." But only as he gradually starts gaining weight and excess facial hair does he realize the gravity of his position.
Other than one minor curse, there is little for families to be concerned about in this movie. Santa's fall from a roof and a scene with the elves tying up the local police so they can free Santa, is the full extent of violence -- although it's the typical movie portrayal of cops playing the heartless fools. Otherwise this film is as clean as North Pole snow.
Just one last warning... If you have children spread over the "belief" age, you will almost certainly find yourself discussing Santa and his practices. So parents, be prepared, and remember... Santa doesn't bring presents to those who don't believe.