2/10 Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse. Although the first movie was awful, I figured with an increased budget and a talented director now at the helm (Chris Columbus), things would surely improve. Sadly, no director, no matter how skilled can save an abysmal script, which is what Columbus signed on to direct. As bad as the first movie was, the central relationship between Kate and Teddy, the brother and sister in the movie, provided some strong emotional family moments. Here, Teddy is completely sidelined in favor of a different kid named Jack, who couldn’t be a more annoying replacement if he tried to be and who in one moment, breaks the fourth wall which shows you how little they cared while making this. Whereas the first movie’s story was more contained and intimate, this movie expands and goes even further off the rails. We get Kate being upset at her mom’s happiness since she has found love after her husband died years ago (it has been years Kate, get over it!), a poorly motivated villain, unnecessary backstory and exposition involving the North Pole and Mrs. Claus yearning to be a real mom. There is way too much to throw into a children’s movie so none of it is developed properly and we don’t care about any of these situations. Despite the success of the first movie and receiving a bigger budget, the visual effects almost look worse two years later. Any animal/creature/elf on screen looks like a 100% animated movie so when we cut back and forth between real humans on a live set and these atrocious looking CGI creatures, it is extremely jarring. For expanding Mrs. Claus’s character from her cameo in the first movie, you will be completely disappointed by the fact that she barely has anything to do and is just assigned to a motherly role of cooking and reading bedtime stories. She isn’t able to get in on any of the action or do anything super useful. She was about as big of a missed opportunity as receiving socks on Christmas morning. The villain, Belsnickel, played by Julian Dennison had terrible motivations (he randomly blames Mr. and Mrs. Claus for his own misdeeds) and I never felt intimidated by him or that our main protagonists were in any real danger. The movie is full of potty humor, ridiculously unbelievable moments (another musical number is included that made me want to cut my wrists with broken Christmas ornaments) and several cringe worthy moments, though at least they didn’t include more elves flossing like they did in the last movie (with the exception of video camera footage of it from the first movie). The only positive elements I can commend would be Kurt Russell (Santa Claus) and Darby Camp (Kate) both continuing to stand out and give solid performances and the pacing was fine. I really hope fewer people watch this movie (although I doubt that will happen) because I fear we are all but assured to get a third installment of this garbage franchise. I’d rather receive herpes for Christmas than a copy of this horrendously bad movie. Stick to Chris Columbus’s best film and one of the best Christmas films of all time, “Home Alone”, instead.

#InTheSaintNickOfTime / #IfIHadABelsnickelForEveryTimeIWantedToStopWatching / #DeadYule2 / #BabyDrummerBoy / #GoldieYawn / #NorthernFights

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