Santa Clause [1994]

Divorced toy company executive Scott Calvin (Tim Allen of Home Improvement and the Toy Story movies) is pleased to have his son Charlie for Christmas, though the boy himself isn't happy about it. But when Santa Claus accidentally topples off the roof of the house and falls with a thud in the snow, Scott finds himself taking the merry old elf's place and earning new respect in his son's eyes. When the night ends, the reindeer take them to the north pole, and Scott discovers that by donning the fabled red suit, he's inadvertently agreed to become the next Santa Claus. The next morning he wakes up in his own bed and thinks it's all a dream--only Charlie remembers it with crystal clarity. Scott now has to deal with his suspicious ex-wife (Wendy Crewson, Air Force One) and her psychiatrist boyfriend (Judge Reinhold, Beverly Hills Cop), who both think he's playing tricks with Charlie's mind, and also with his own out-of-control body, which is putting on weight and growing a prodigious beard. The Santa Clause probably won't supplant It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street as anyone's favorite holiday film, but it's an enjoyable, straightforward family film, anchored by the affable charisma of Allen. --Bret Fetzer

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