Well, Christmas came and went like a fart in the wind, and now we will have the rest of the year (one week) to indulge in our excesses before making our New Year resolutions (which we will promptly forget). The holidays are a time of mass-commercialization, and along with that comes a plethora of pandering, holiday-themed films that no one wants to watch. One such answer to a question that nobody asked is the film Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, a deservedly unknown piece of no-budget tripe that no right-minded human could possibly enjoy… which is precisely why I watched it. Come along with me on a magical journey featuring Santa, a cow, Huckleberry Finn, a fire truck, Thumbelina and a 6-foot-tall anthropomorphic rabbit.
The “movie” (in the loosest sense of the word) opens in Santa’s “workshop” (which is obviously just a horribly painted set) with his “elves” (who are just kids wearing prosthetic ears) “working” (they’re just singing) and making “toys” (Raggedy Ann dolls don’t count as toys). One of the elves notices stock footage of reindeer outside, which causes the omniscient narrator to inquire that if Santa’s reindeer are back in the North Pole, where’s Santa?
Before you have time to even wonder this yourself, the narrator answers her own question by whisking us away to Florida to show that Santa’s sleigh got stuck on a sand dune near the beach. Apparently his self-centered reindeer “friends” got too hot and left the poor, fat bastard to roast to death while they chilled at the North Pole (pun intended).
Fearing that he’ll miss delivering presents in time before Christmas, Santa does what any person in his situation would do: He sings to himself… poorly. After Santa thoroughly ear-rapes the audience with his tone deaf “singing,” he — and I’m not making this up — telepathically beckons all the children of the neighborhood to come help him. Instead of all the children being freaked out by having an old man speak to them through their collective subconscious, they joyfully stop what they’re doing and come running to help out the jolly fat man. Two of these children happen to be — again, I’m not making this up — Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, who are floating down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft when they get Santa’s brain communiqué, all the while the film’s soundtrack plays “Old Man River” on kazoos.
In case I forgot to mention it, this film’s story takes place in then-present day 1972 Florida.
When the children arrive, they sit in a semi-circle around Santa as he explains that his sleigh is stuck and that he needs the brainless brats to help him out. Even though they lack the magical flying ability (or even higher brain functions) needed to pull his sleigh, the kids enthusiastically cheer and promptly run off, perhaps to attend an idiot convention. Oddly enough, despite the myriad of fantastic/insane things that have happened to everyone involved, the only ones who question what’s going on are Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, who spy from the bushes far away from the group and remark how weird it is to see Santa there. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.
Santa sits around and mopes for a minute when all of sudden, some blonde-haired little girl comes back holding hands with a giant gorilla. Yes, a gorilla. The primate proceeds to try and pull the sleigh, but to no avail. Nice try, Donkey Kong.
Right after Grape Ape gives up, another kid arrives, but this one is bringing along a donkey. Of course the ass is as stubborn as… an ass, so Santa mopes until someone else shows up with the next failure on four legs. Sure enough, the next kid brings a small pig whose incessant squealing sounds like a TIE fighter from Star Wars. Again, it didn’t work (nor would it), but that didn’t stop Santa from allowing the children to give it an honest attempt. Next in line of the petting zoo rejects is a sheep, then a cow and finally a horse, which, coincidentally, is the only animal in this whole lineup that is meant to pull a sleigh.
Free comedy tip, Movie: Start with the banal and work your way up to the absurd. Don’t start off with trying to have Magilla Gorilla pull a sleigh only to end up with Secretariat, especially when it takes TEN MINUTES to get there.
So now that the kids have completely failed him (big shock), Santa is all despondent again, and because misery loves company, he’s surrounded by the children… again. The narrator chimes in to say that despite the odds being against Mr. Claus, he always has a trick up his sleeve. So what’s his trick this time? Apparently it’s to tell the kids a story and cut to a different movie entirely. I’m dead serious — he starts to tell the children the story of Thumbelina and then it fades into a title and introductory credit sequence for it. For the next 65 minutes, this is no longer Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, it’s Thumbelina.
Since I’m writing a review for Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny and NOT Thumbelina, I’m going to skip pretty much everything there is to say about this film-within-a-film save for a few points.
- Thumbelina is one of the cheapest productions ever made. I’ve seen grade school plays that had better costumes and more convincing backdrops.
- The entire film was shot at a now-demolished theme park called Pirate’s World.
- Not only is this a film-within-a-film, but it has it’s own narrator, as the whole movie focuses on a girl watching a display about Thumbelina while the park’s PA system blurts out the story.
So just to make this perfectly clear, we have a narrator telling the story about Santa, who in turn is telling a group of kids a story about a young woman who is being told the story of Thumbelina. It’s a film-within-a-film and a story-within-a-story-within-a-story-within-a-story. Primer was less convoluted.
After Thumbelina ends, we come back to Emo Santa on the beach with the Idiot Brigade. Some stuff happens (i.e., nothing) and the kids get an idea and run off. After 85 minutes since the start of the film, the titular Ice Cream Bunny finally appears with children in tow. Naturally, he’s driving a fire truck (Why wouldn’t he?), and since the Ice Cream Bunny is a complete moron, he forgot to turn the truck’s siren off, so the audience is treated to the sweet, dulcet tones of a fire engine siren while the kids poorly lip-sync a ballad about Santa. But why take my word for it when you can watch the ending yourself?
So the day is saved for Santa and friends, and my brain now officially hates me for subjecting it to this movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film where literally 75% of the damn thing is padded with another movie, especially another movie that has nothing to do with it. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny redefines lazy filmmaking. It is definitely in the highest echelon of bad movies — worse than almost anything featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I say that having seen every episode. This film is so incompetent, it makes Manos: The Hands of Fate seem like Citizen Kane, and I stand by that. The only thing entertaining about this movie is reading the director’s biography.
And I thought Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 was bad. Goddamn.