REAL Santas 2: Ho. Ho. HO. (2014) Picture

Unusually, both the original "REAL Santas" and its sequel were filmed more or less at the same time. The practical reason for this was that if there was to be a sequel using most of the original cast, it would need to be done fairly quickly, before the children were too old to make the story work. Additionally, this was fairly low risk; even if the original didn't do well at the box office (and it did very well indeed), the sequel could either go direct to video or to television, and the production costs could easily be recouped because it was effectively just one long shoot.

Unofficially, the production title of the sequel was "Ho. Ho. HO, motherfuckers!" because one of the running gags was how much Grandfather cursed. When someone noted that this would be problematic for the ratings board, the script was tweaked so that every time Grandfather was about to let one loose, someone would gasp, pearls would be clutched, and Grandfather would contain himself, until the very last scene of the film.

The basic story for the sequel was that Grandfather once again was watching the grandchildren while his offspring did their last minute shopping and wrapping. Just as the sun goes down, there's a rap-tap-tapping at his door. Santa's Elf and the female Santa, from the previous film, and one person we've never seen before are at Grandfather's door, asking for his help.

It turns out that some evildoers have, for reasons that don't hold up if you look at them even a tiny bit so we won't, have kidnapped Current North Pole Santa and Original Flavor Santa (the postlife incarnation of St Nicholas of Bari, as in the previous film) in an attempt to do ... something that is never entirely clear, aside from getting a list of all the world's children for some undefined nefarious purpose. They're asking for Grandfather to help them rescue the kidnapped Santas. At first he refuses, but then it turns out that Current North Pole Santa is also Big Gay Santa from the previous movie.

Grandfather and Big Gay Santa have, against all odds, become friends, even as Grandfather tries to deny/suppress his inner Santaness. (The fact that his beard has gotten more magnificent and somewhat snowier, and that he's tending to wear a lot of red and white these days are pointedly not mentioned by anyone.) They meet every weekend or so for chess, coffee, and trash talking. However, he wasn't able to come the past couple of weeks, because it was North America's turn in the North Pole Santa rotation -- the North Pole Santa coordinates the entire holiday undertaking, but it's such huge amount of work that it rotates between the continents, and between different Santas within each continent, every year. Nobody has to do more than one year in a row as North Pole Santa unless they really really want to, and nobody is allowed to do more than two or three years in a row, lest absolute Santaness corrupt absolutely.

Grandfather might have let the others tackle this themselves. Might have. But those bad guys took one of his friends. And nobody -- NOBODY -- messes with Grandfather or his people. And, clearly, since he has to go, and the kids are too young to leave alone, they have to come along to. (Ah, the fun of family movies, where it seems eminently more logical to take children directly into danger than to leave them at home to wait for their parents, even though they might be alone a little while.)

So, off to the north pole they go in Santa's sleigh -- well, one of them, there are dozens, understandably -- handling members of the bad guy conspiracy along the way. And things explode without too many people noticing, as they tend to do in these very strange holidays.

They get to the north pole, and the kids wind up going with female Santa and New Guy Santa (Manuelito Chii' as new Navajo Santa, replacing the previous one [whom we never really met, except in passing during the previous film], and still in his, "I am absolutely positively not really Santa and why are so many things blowing up around us?" phase) to rescue Original Flavor Santa, while Grandfather and Santa's Elf go to rescue North Pole/Big Gay Santa and thwart the bad guys. And, of course, once thwarted, Grandfather releases an impressive torrent of invective upon the bad guys ... which the audience never hears, because he and the bad guys are outside Santa's Factory, and everyone else is inside, watching. (At one point, Granddaughter says, "The deaf kids at school were showing us how to read lips, and I think Gran'pa just said a bad bad word." To which Santa's Elf says, "Yes. Yes, he did." And Big Gay Santa says, "Yeah, but nothing like what he can say when he loses a close chess game.")

And, of course, they get home just in time for Grandfather's daughters to come to pick up their children, who are so tired that they go out like lights on the couch almost as soon as they get home, so his daughters never know what their children get up to when they're gone. And, of course, this was the final event necessary for Grandfather to accept his inner Santahood.

A "Six years later" chyron later, we get an aerial view of the North Pole Santa Factory, looking much the same as always. We zoom in through one of the windows, and Grandfather is coordinating the holiday enterprise, doing all the things that Santa should do before heading out on one ride himself. Big Gay Santa's Elf and Navajo-Santa-In-Training are helping out. Bells are jingling, wrapping paper is flying, reindeer are pooping. Final shot is of Grandfather and Navajo-Santa-in-Training in the sleigh, flying off into the night sky. And we hear Grandfather exclaim, as they fly out of sight, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good [SPLAT!] ... God ... bless it, Comet, that was right on my pants!" Followed by some almost but not quite entirely inaudible words that lead Big Gay Santa's Elf to gasp and put his hands over the ears of the elf standing next to him, while another one takes notes.

The End.

-- I. Noah Lott, professor of current history, comparative and modern mythology and modern media studies, Serenity Falls University, Hollywood Roars, book 2: the story of one little studio and how it couldn't before it could.

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A few hours late, a dollar short. Ah, well. Credits are more or less what they say on the poster. Any specific questions you have, please ask!

Also, for something with nothing but six people, hair, clothing, a sleigh and a few explosions in it, a surprisingly heavyweight scene. Brought my computer to its metaphorical knees more than once.
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