Picks and Pans Review: Santa Claus—the Movie
After the New York premiere of Santa Claus, Patrick, the 9-year-old son of the film's star, Dudley Moore, was asked by a TV reporter if he would have spent his allowance on the movie. "Nope," came the reply as Dudley stepped in front of the camera with a tight smile. That sums up this disaster. Only the very young, who may enjoy the bright colors and special effects, will get anything out of this extremely juvenile movie. In the opening sequence villagers huddle in a cozy hut as a blizzard rages outside. They wonder how the kindly local woodcutter, Mr. Claus, played by David (Smokey and the Bandit II) Huddleston, manages to provide toys to all the children in the village. Huddleston meanwhile is magically transported to the North Pole. For the next couple of centuries, Santa goes about making toys in a wonderfully grand set. But director Jeannot (Supergirl) Szwarc lets the movie drag, trotting out one toy-making scene after another. As the film approaches 1985, production problems cause Santa's chief assistant, played flatly by Moore, to venture off into the uncaring world. He meets up with John Lithgow, a zanily corrupt New York toy manufacturer who begins plotting to institute a Christmas II in March. All the while adults in the audience are thinking of better uses for the $50 million spent on this movie. Szwarc has said he wanted to make a "perennial classic like Snow White or Bambi." Ho, ho, ho. (PG)
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