By far the worst pun I’ve ever made. I love it.
It’s been two years since Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) and her brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) met Santa Claus (Kurt F*cking Russell). Now, Kate’s mom (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is dating a new man (TYRESE GIBSON) and the family is on vacation with him and his son, Jack (Jahzir Bruno), in Cancun. However, Kate and Jack are abducted and sent to the North Pole by the renegade elf Belsnickel (Julian Dennison). The pair must help Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn) stop Belsnickel from taking the Star of Bethlehem and destroying Christmas.
So, I was pretty explicit in my review of the first film that this movie literally only worked because Kurt Russell is a hell of an actor and can make almost any character badass or cool. You would think that wouldn’t extend to Santa Claus, but he pulled it off. Unfortunately, while Santa in this film is still the cool character from the first film, the story in this film fails on almost every level.
The problem is that the film shifts from being Santa’s plan to help inspire the Christmas spirit in a young girl to being about trying to stop a generic evil character from taking over the North Pole. That means that the conflict and the threat is now external, so you have to find a way to make it feel like there are stakes. Unfortunately, that’s never the case here because the Kurt Russell version of Santa is an invincible force of nature. He has magic, he knows martial arts, he’s almost omniscient, and often he only seems to have any problems because apparently he is amusing himself. Having a character like that guiding a third party can be interesting. Having that character dealing with a threat directly makes you wonder why the movie isn’t four minutes long. Even with Belsnickel’s elf artifice and magic, Santa generally just swats his threats aside easily. It never feels like there was any chance Santa doesn’t win this fight, a sentence that is just so weird to write.
The film also really tries to expand on the mythos of this world’s Santa and it made some odd choices. It conveys that this is actually THE Saint Nicholas of Myra, which raises a number of questions, including why he looks like the version of Santa from the most recent century and why a Greek bishop in Asia Minor in the fourth century looks like Kurt Russell. I’m also curious if this version resurrected the three children murdered by a butcher. On top of that, they reveal that this Santa is actually powered by the Star of Bethlehem which is basically saying that Santa runs on Jesus juice. It probably helps curb complaints by some groups, but I also think that saying that elves were the ones who monitored the Star of Bethlehem probably causes a lot of other dogmatic issues.
Overall, though, the only thing that keeps this movie interesting is Kurt Russell, but you could just as easily rewatch The Thing if you want to see Kurt Russell being awesome in a snowy location.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.