Roughly 20 minutes. It’s about the time that James Caan’s character and his younger son, who clearly have no relationship, have a single moment of connection and it turns out they have a secret handshake. That’s the first sign that something has gone horribly wrong with this movie.
It’s like they had only written the movie up to a certain point, and then had to hire someone much lamer to come in and finish it off. …Which is ironic, given the story arc of James Caan’s character.
At this point the film shifts into magic fantasy zone. Santa’s sleigh has broken down and needs Christmas spirit in order to make it fly again. Christmas spirit is achieved by children finding out what they’re getting for Christmas by someone reading aloud from Santa’s book. Further spirit is achieved by everybody breaking out into the song ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’ – the lamest, weakest, most annoying Holiday song I can think of.
At one point the dad is not singing, so his son tells him he has to sing, so he reluctantly starts to sing, and just as that happens, Santa’s sleigh flies right overhead. If he hadn’t been singing then he could’ve DIED! Singing ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’ saved his life!
Then everybody stopped singing but the sleigh stayed in the air anyway.
Oh, and while all this spirit gathering is going on, the Central Park Rangers show up – who are bad guys. You’ve never seen them before but you can tell they’re bad buys because of the music and they wear black and because the news lady said so. And also the horses they ride on are bad guys.
They don’t even serve any purpose in the story, other than someone decided the story needed a villain. So they just grabbed the first group of people who came to mind and labeled them Villains. Kids are impressionable, and they rely on the grown-ups to tell them who’s bad and who’s good. That’s a power that I don’t like to see being abused.
Seriously, it’s very hard to believe that this is the same movie. It almost makes you forget about how great the rest of it was. You kind of have to stop the movie at the end of the date sequence in order to not have to see the horrible train wreck that the movie turns into. Think of it as Bambi’s mom.