Call Me Claus
directed by Peter Werner
(Columbia Tristar, 2001)

Whoopi Goldberg puts her special pizzazz on being Santa in one of my favorite Christmas movies, Call Me Claus.

Lucy Collins (Goldberg) hates Christmas. When she was a child, she asked Santa (Nigel Hawthorne) to bring her daddy home from Vietnam for Christmas. Santa tried to say that he could not, but his head elf, Ralph (Taylor Negron), said Santa can do anything. Her daddy was returned in a body bag, and Lucy of course blames Santa.

Nick St. Nicholas has been Santa for 200 years. He has four weeks to find a replacement Santa or the "or else" factor kicks in: the North Pole melts, and the world ends by flood. Lucy is the last name on his list of possible replacements. He goes looking for her and ends up with a job as the Santa on the television shopping network where she is the producer.

Lucy refuses to talk to him, saying the last person she wants in her life is Santa. Then she fires him for refusing to sell a gambling machine Santa.

With the end of the world approaching, the elf inquisition committee turns up the pressure on Nick while Lucy continues to turn her back on him.

Like so many moviegoers, I am a diehard Whoopi Goldberg fan. She always puts her unique flair on any character that she plays, and this role is certainly no exception. She was a perfect choice for the cynical and bitter Lucy. From hardcore to scared-to-the-core, she takes every emotion to the very limit.

Though the basic plot of Santa reaching the end of his term and needing a replacement but having to overcome complications is well used, this movie takes a new angle. It is engaging and exhilarating. The energy on the screen carries over into the viewer.

Call Me Claus is quality entertainment. It is a wonderful family film that is ideal for group viewing during the holidays. It is far, far above the average holiday film.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

13 December 2008

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