The Christmas Takeover (1998)
Someone's Got Some Santa Issues
As the owner of a mega toy company Tyler Madison (Harry Hamlin - Murder So Sweet) should love Christmas as it is his big time of the year except he doesn't. Instead Tyler is all about the business and the next toy company his empire is going to swallow up much to the distress of his son Danny (Curtis Blanck) and wife Elyse (Megan Gallagher - A Time to Remember). But Tyler has a huge secret as he is in fact the son of Santa Claus (William Hootkins) although they have been estranged for many years. But whilst Tyler would like nothing more that to eliminate his father's toy factory at the North Pole he finds himself joining forces with his old man when someone tries to stage a coup at the North Pole.
My heart sunk during the first few scenes of "The Christmas Takeover" which is also known as "Like Father, Like Santa" because firstly we are immediately dished up the tired cliche of a workaholic father who has no time for his son or wife. But we then get taken to the North Pole with interiors which look like they have been filmed during down time in a department store's Christmas section. I don't think a movie could have got off to a worse start but then it immediately redeems itself when we discover that Tyler has some connection which allows him to know what his competitor's dirty secrets are and so can blackmail them into selling up. Not that I am saying blackmail is good but it is obvious that his connection is someone at the North Pole.
But like a rollercoaster "The Christmas Takeover" takes a nose dive and it wends its way to nothing more than a predictable ending as a certain grump finds some Christmas spirit, does some much needed making up and well I don't need to go in to detail as right from the moment we realise that Tyler is Santa's son ever second of it is obvious.
The trouble is that "The Christmas Takeover" is far too pantomime like with a villain who turns bad because he feels under appreciated and who is so over the top bad that you almost wait to be prompted by a boo track rather than a laughter track. It's not just the forced feeling which lets it down but also that it feels like someone wrote a series of scenes but didn't bother to write the filler to join it all together. I could go on and mention that Gary Coleman is cast as one of Santa's helper and delivers a performance all about the typical Gary Coleman facial expressions.
Now in fairness I am being picky as "The Christmas Takeover" is a movie which is made for young children, and I do mean young children and not families as all those things I mentioned won't bother younger eyes whilst more than likely annoy grown ups who find themselves having to watch it with their children.
What this all boils down to is that if you have some 8 - 10 year olds you want to keep amused during the lead up to Christmas then "The Christmas Takeover" might just do it. But as I said it isn't really a movie which offers something for the whole family other than plenty of cheesy scenes and a huge slice of familiarity.
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