About halfway through ABC Family's "25 days of Christmas," the channel gave to us â¦ a warmed-over sequel to a 2006 movie? Jenny McCarthy returns as Santa Claus' daughter in "Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe," which generally proves about as annoying as its title. The main problem is that the movie's not really for kids, but adults might have their patience stretched thin listening to high-pitched elves talking like members of the Lollipop Guild. All told, a couple of hours in mall traffic seems infinitely preferable.
Writers Garrett Frawley and Brian Turner and director Ron Underwood also have reunited on "Baby 2," which otherwise gives McCarthy's Mary Class a new dad (Paul Sorvino, replacing George Wendt) and new boyfriend, Luke (Dean McDermott, subbing for Ivan Sergei). Then again, 'tis the season for cheap knockoffs.
A successful exec in Manhattan, Mary is getting ready for a big corporate merger when she gets some bad news from the North Pole. It seems that papa Santa is experiencing a midlife crisis ("I've been going through some things," he says, using hippie lingo) and wants to retire -- passing his gift-giving chores on to her.
Mary's attempts to pitch in, however, are complicated by Santa's power-grabbing assistant Teri ("Two and a Half Men's" Kelly Stables) , labor problems involving the elves and Luke's clear preference for the Pole's wide-open spaces over New York.
It's all played at a pretty shrill pitch -- like an old 33 record on 78 speed -- and that's not just referring to the elf voices. The one saving grace is Stables as Santa's scheming sidekick, though her motives remain too confusing to qualify her as a credible villain.
Finally, it's toy-giving time, but even then -- despite the soaring music (and less airborne effects) -- the movie never takes off. Granted, ABC Family has pledged to deliver "200 hours of holiday-themed entertainment for the whole family" this month, and that's a pretty big order. Counting "Santa Baby 2," that leaves the network with only 200 hours to fill.