Disney+ Miniseries Missing Holiday Spark – The Hollywood Reporter

That the Christmas spirit is no longer what it was is the discontent at the heart of Disney +. Santa clauseswhat do you see tim allenSanta Claus reflects on his retirement after nearly three decades on the job.

Really though, was it ever? This is a franchise that started (in the 1994 film the Santa Claus) with a bitterly divorced salesman who kills Santa the night before Christmas. Its spun-sugar holiday magic has always been a little lopsided, and with the latest addition of creator Jack Burditt, it’s taken on a distinctly sour tinge.

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The bottom line

It lacks that Christmas magic.

Air Date: Wednesday, November 16 (Disney+)
To emit: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Kal Penn, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, Austin Kane, Rupali Redd, Devin Bright, Matilda Lawler
Executive producers: Jack Burditt, Tim Allen, Kevin Hench, Richard Baker, Rick Messina, Jason Winer, Jon Radler

Here’s a Santa complaining that “saying ‘Merry Christmas everyone’ has suddenly become problematic”, and snorts at the idea that considering a child too naughty for presents is “a shame on brats”. . He is shocked to realize that the adorable moppet who left him soymilk some 20 years ago (as we are reminded in one of the miniseries’s occasional inclusions of grainy clips from the 1994 film) has grown into a thirtysomething without set course (Casey Wilson) who has completely forgotten about him.

Santa’s elves (chief among them station eleven‘s Matilda Lawler, well-cast as his gruff lieutenant) have begun to float the idea that it might be time for him to move on. Santa’s own family would tend to agree. Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell) feels increasingly marginalized in a role so thankless she doesn’t even have a first name. (Apparently “Carol”, her name in Santa Claus 2, does not count because it was his “before name”. No, I do not undertand neither). Their children, teenager Cal (Austin Kane) and pre-teen Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick, Tim Allen’s real-life daughter), are spending more and more time in virtual reality goggles that allow them to simulate the excitingly mundane experience of cutting. the lawn in Kansas.

All that’s left to do before Santa can leave is find a successor. While he has yet to find one by the end of the second chapter (the last one sent to critics, of a six-part season), it should be obvious to all but the least seasoned viewers that it’s meant to be Simon (Kal Penn ). a vaguely Bezosian guy whose vaguely Amazonian e-commerce business desperately needs any charm from the North Pole that will allow Santa Claus to deliver toys to homes around the world faster than any state-of-the-art drone.

There is something poignant about the idea that “Santa” could become another of those overly demanding professions that drive Christmas movie dads everywhere to neglect their families until a poignant epiphany in the third act, particularly when mirrored. in Simon’s arc as a man for whom work represents an opportunity to spend less time on Christmas Eve work calls and more time decorating the halls with his extremely cute daughter (Ruplai Rudd). Penn projects an innate tenderness that makes him easier to sympathize with than Allen’s eccentric Santa Claus.

Unfortunately, such flashes of genuine emotion or charm tend to get buried under shoddy workmanship. For every half-decent joke (“I don’t like wearing anything Ozzy Osbourne wore better,” Mrs. Claus quips about her velvet capes), there’s a nonsensical groan about “ASS-Acute Squawk Syndrome.” The soundtrack consists of melodies selected for their ability to sound like the Ghostbusters either Indiana Jones themes, but not so much as to cost real money.

The undemanding plot and bright visuals might be enough to calm a roomful of kids for half an hour at a time, and possibly even give their millennial parents a pang of nostalgia or two. But yes the santa clausWith the central concern being that there isn’t enough Christmas magic in the world anymore, this half-hearted series seems unlikely to be the gift that will bring her back.

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