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Film / The Santa Trap

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The Santa Trap is a 2002 made-for-TV Christmas Movie.

Molly Emerson (Shelley Long) is a businesswoman who is forced to move to San Diego by her job. She misses the snow and the pressure of the move affects her and her family. When her son tells his younger sister that there is no Santa Claus, she decides to prove it by capturing Santa in a homemade trap. Amazingly, it works, but her parents assume Santa (Dick Van Patten) is just a disguised thief, and he gets sent to jail. Once they realize their mistake they try to free him, but get a disguised biker (Stacy Keach) instead. Can Santa be freed in time to deliver all his presents?


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Tropes in The Santa Trap:

  • Christmas Elves: And with an attitude, too! Especially the Rescue Commando, Elf-1.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: Molly's wish is granted in the end.
  • Homelessness: While giving out presents in Santa's stead, Molly and her family run into a homeless woman (Adrianne Barbeau) and her family. They have more Christmas cheer than she does.
  • Made of Iron: Bill falls off the balcony in one scene and the only damage it does is a few cactus needles getting stuck in him.
  • Married to the Job: Both Molly and her husband Bill are very stressed by their jobs. This gets lampshaded in the hospital when he finds a coworker (from earlier in the film) now a victim of a heart attack.
  • Mugged for Disguise: A nonviolent version between Santa and The Biker.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Two of the movie's posters are very misleading. One of them depicts Santa Claus trapped in a birdcage while Shelley Long looks at him with a mischievous smile and holding the keys which makes it look like she is responsible for trapping Santa Claus and not her daughter. The other poster (which you can see both at the top of this page as well as the film's IMDB page) shows Judy, Santa and Michael above the title along with a picture of the reindeer and sleigh leaving a house. Except the house is most definitely NOT the house the Emersons live in. Furthermore, the Santa on this poster is not even Dick Van Patten ... it's the Santa from that popular stock image you see everywhere!! (Proof: Poster 1, Poster 2, Stock Santa image.)
    • The false advertising doesn't end there. The movie's IMDB summary? "A community has mixed feelings over Santa's permanent residence in their small town."
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  • No Antagonist: The movie seems to have two villains -the Biker and the Police Chief- but it turns out both are nicer than they appear. Also, technically speaking the police holding Santa were just doing their job.
  • Police Are Useless: The two bumbling cops. They even apply the police love donuts cliché!
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Occurs when Bill discovers the reindeer on the roof.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The Santa trap. It's just a collection of toys and household items, yet it manages to capture Santa.
  • Santa Claus: Of course. This Santa's abilities are (conveniently) inconsistent; he can come down chimneys but not escape from closets or jail cells, he knows everyone's names and backgrounds but can get suckered easily.
  • Santa's Existence Clause: The whole plot of the movie. Most amusingly, at first Bill doesn't believe in Santa until he finds Santa's reindeer on their roof!
  • Saving Christmas: at least that year's.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bill. Hey, come on; what's the worst that could happen when you balance with one foot on a chair and one foot on the balcony railing while you attempt to see what's on your roof? Granted, the fall doesn't kill him but still.


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