Santa Jr.
directed by Kevin Connor
(Alpine, 2002)

Only in modern America would Santa be arrested for trespassing, breaking and entering, burglary and possession of cocaine (his magic dust). Santa Jr. shows us the woes of the modern jolly old gent and his trusted head elf, while keeping us absolutely entertained and often rolling with laughter.

Chris Kringle Jr. (Nick Stabile) is in training to take over for his father when he is mistaken for the "Christmas Bandit" and arrested in San Diego, Calif. The police impound his toy sack and his reindeer, Farley, runs away. His elf helper, Stan (Ed Gale) is left to replace the toys "old style" while trying to find a way to get Chris out of this mess.

Chris is released under house arrest and has to stay at the home of his public defender, Susan Flynn (Lauren Holly). Susan has lost the Christmas spirit and no longer celebrates the season. Chris never had the Christmas spirit and just "doesn't get it." He would rather be a dentist. Stan had hoped Chris would come to understand the true meaning of Christmas while serving the Pacific Coast territory, but things sure went screwy with that.

Somehow, the real Christmas Bandit must be apprehended and the toy sack returned to Chris or there will no Christmas toys for the West Coast.

The detectives assigned to Chris's case could not be more different in their attitudes and beliefs about Christmas. Norm (George Wallace) cannot get enough of Christmas, nor can he ever spread enough holiday cheer and good will toward men. Darryl (Judd Nelson) is the bah-humbug type who wishes the season would go away. Norm wants to give Chris the benefit of the doubt. Darryl wants to believe only the worst about him.

Santa Jr. is one of my favorite Christmas movies and I look forward to watching it each year. I can never get enough of Norm. His attitude is contagious! Although his movie is a comedy, it delves deeply into the psychology of the season. It prompts you to examine your own beliefs and attitudes as the drama unfolds. You will find yourself identifying with at least one of the detectives, yet you will also understand the other's logic.

As light drama, this charming film will keep you watching. There are no slow points in this one anywhere. It pushes steadily toward the climax, offering a couple of highly entertaining twists along the way.

Special mention has to be made about the music by Ken Thorne. It is outstanding, carrying your subconscious through the emotions and suspense; peaks and valleys; of the movie and deftly manipulating your mindset. Thorne did a tremendous job with this musical score. It is definitely one of the best on the market.

The acting is precisely on the mark: right amount of appropriate emotion with crucial timing. All the parts are played extremely well.

Santa Jr. is a movie for the whole family to enjoy. It will entertain you and make you believe in the spirit of Christmas. Incidentally, I have never heard the Christmas spirit explained as well as it is at the end of this movie. It is awesome!

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

4 July 2009

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