A little girl asks for the impossible from Santa and when she doesn’t receive her wish, she gives up on Christmas. Fast-forward to present day (which I assume is the same as Christmas), and the little girl is now a jaded single mother (Crystal Bernard) working for an unctuous boss (Thomas Calabro). Meanwhile, at the Northpole, Santa Jr. (Steve Guttenberg) is being ganged up on by his mom, dad, and a weasel named Ernest (Armin Shimerman). They want him to get married, now, it’s an edict. And Ernest gives him a list of potential brides (basically, it’s an arranged marriage of convenience). Santa wants to retire and he expects his son to take over the family business with a good woman at his side (any woman will do, they aren’t picky about “his” choice). So he heads for California where the only available choices reside(?). He’s on a deadline and being spied on by Ernest who is quick to remind Nick not to be so picky; romance has nothing to do with making a sensible choice. You’re Santa-to-be; you have to be pragmatic, not loving. Fortunately, by accident, Nick finds Beth the workaholic mom and quickly insinuates himself into her life, ingratiating himself on her son and then her.
Despite some of the obvious unsavory elements in the story, Steve Guttenberg appears to be having great fun and that becomes infectious. At times, it does become achingly cute (like the adult play date on a playground meant for kids). There’s a fine line between an adult being childlike as opposed to acting childish (Guttenberg skipping merrily is one of those moments).