A vehicle for Tim Allen, star of TV's Home Improvements, this turns out to be an unexpected treat. Divorced businessman Scott Calvin rediscovers the love of son Charlie when he dons Santa's red mantle after an unfortunate accident on his roof. The sleigh, the elves, and the magic all seem to indicate a dream, but when, ten months later, Scott can't stop himself putting on the pounds and growing a fluffy white beard, he realises that perhaps he should have read the small print before signing the Santa clause. Perennial bug-bears like the absence of chimneys and the size of Santa's sack are readily explained by contemporary morphing effects, while the sarcastic Allen makes an admirably grumpy Father Christmas. The movie steers a shrewd course between bracing cynicism and old-fashioned make-believe.