Jack Frost is the lead singer in a rock band simply titled "The Jack Frost Band", based in the fictional town of Medford, Colorado, who make their living performing blues covers and an assortment of their own songs in the hope of signing a record deal. He then returns to his 11-year-old son Charlie, who has just returned from an epic snowball fight against the bully Rory Buck. They spend some quality time by building a snowman in their front yard. Afterward, Jack tucks Charlie into bed and gives him his best harmonica, which Jack got the day Charlie was born. He then jokes with Charlie, telling him that it's magical, and he'll be able to hear the harmonica wherever he is. Jack promises his wife Gabby that he will attend his son's hockey game. However, he misses the hockey's game in favor of recording the ironically named "Don't Lose Your Faith". Jack then promises to take his family on a Christmas trip to the mountains, but is called in on a gig that could either make or break his career. On his way to the gig, Jack realizes his mistake and borrows his best friend Mac's car to go home and be with his family. Unfortunately, a bad storm begins to block his view. Due to a faulty windshield wiper on Mac's car, Jack is unable to navigate through the storm, and as a result, he crashes his car, and is killed instantly (off-screen).
One year later, Charlie, depressed over his father's death, withdraws from all contact with his friends. One night, Charlie makes another snowman that bears as much of a resemblance to Jack as he can remember of him and plays Jack's harmonica just before going to sleep. The harmonica turns out to be magical after all as it resurrects Jack, and his spirit awakens in the snowman. Thrilled to be alive again, Jack attempts to greet Charlie, but ends up terrifying him with his uncanny appearance. Jack walks into the night and contemplates his fate. The next morning, Charlie discovers Jack in his yard and attempts to run away from him. When Charlie winds up in the snowball battlefield, Jack pelts Rory Buck and the other children with snowballs and manages to grab Charlie. Jack escapes with Charlie on a sled whilst Rory and the enraged children pursue them. After losing Rory and the pursuers, Charlie realizes that the snowman is his father after Jack calls him 'Charlie boy' which is what his father used to call him and embraces him.
Jack reconnects with Charlie and teaches him the values that he never got to teach him when he was alive. After giving him some hockey lessons, Jack convinces Charlie to rejoin the hockey team instead of continuing to grieve over his death. Charlie goes on to become the best player on the team. In the meantime, Mac continues to be a friend of the family becoming a father figure of sorts to Charlie per Gabby's suggestion.
As winter approaches its end, Jack begins melting and struggles to get to Charlie's hockey game. Afterwards, Charlie decides to take Jack to the mountains where it is colder. Charlie attempts to convince his mother to take Jack there, but has a difficult time doing so. Charlie then comes across Rory Buck who also insults the snowman by asking which is more stupid. After Jack speaks in front of Rory by correcting his last sentence, Rory sympathizes with Charlie not having a father. Rory then helps him sneak Jack onto a truck en route to the mountains. Upon reaching the mountains, Jack and Charlie arrive at the isolated cabin that the family was going to stay at a year earlier before Jack's death. Jack calls Gabby, nonchalantly asking her to come to the cabin to pick up Charlie; Gabby is shocked, but recognizes Jack's voice and obliges. Jack tells a disheartened Charlie that he has to leave. When his wife arrives, the snowman shell dissipates, revealing Jack as he appeared in life, but in an ethereal form. After telling Charlie that even though Jack will be in the afterworld, he will be with him wherever he is and wherever he goes and after saying farewell, Jack returns to the afterlife.
In the closing moments of the film, Charlie plays hockey with his group of friends - which now includes Rory, while Gabby happily watches, and Mac who plays music on the piano (it can be implied that it is one year later, and that Gabby has remarried, this time to Mac). The final street scene shows that all the front lawns have snowmen on them.
In credits order.Michael Keaton as Jack Frost, Charlie's dad, the vocalist and harmonica player of The Jack Frost Band who died in a car accident while trying to come home to spend Christmas with his family and is brought back to life in the body of the snowman in Charlie's front yard after Charlie used the magic harmonica.Bruce Lanoil as Jack Frost's Snowman form (in-suit performer)Denise Cheshire as Jack Frost's Snowman form (in-suit performer)Kelly Preston as Gabby Frost, Jack's wife/widow; Charlie's momHenry Rollins as Sid Gronic, ice hockey coachMark Addy as Mac MacArthur, Jack's keyboard player and best friend; later Charlie's stepfather.Joseph Cross as Charlie Frost, Jack's sonMika Boorem as Natalie, Charlie's friendAndrew Lawrence as Tuck Gronic, Charlie's friend, Sid's sonEli Marienthal as Spencer, Charlie's friendWill Rothhaar as Dennis, Charlie's friendTaylor Handley as Rory Buck, a school bully who picks on Charlie but later befriends and sympathizes with Charlie as they bond over not having their fathers. Rory's father deserted his family, whereas Charlie's father died.Ahmet Zappa as Snowplow DriverPaul F. Tompkins as Audience MemberDweezil Zappa as John Kaplan, music agentJay Johnston as TV WeathermanJeff Cesario as Radio AnnouncerScott Kraft as Natalie's DadAjai Sanders as TV InterviewerJohn Ennis as Truck DriverWayne Federman as Dave, policemanPat Crawford Brown as Ice Hockey ScorekeeperTrevor Rabin as Trevor, The Jack Frost Band Lead GuitaristLili Haydn as Lili, The Jack Frost Band ViolinistLou Molino III as Lou, The Jack Frost Band DrummerScott Colomby as Scott, The Jack Frost Band Bass PlayerMoon Unit Zappa as School Teacher (uncredited)
The film features 22 tracks:Frosty the Snowman - The Jack Frost BandRoll with the Changes - REO SpeedwagonMerry Christmas, Baby - HansonEverytime We Say Goodbye - Cole PorterRock and Roll (Part 2) - Gary GlitterDon't Lose Your Faith - The Jack Frost BandCan't Let Go - Lucinda WilliamsLeavin' Again - Steve PoltzCouldn't Stand the Weather - Stevie Ray VaughanLandslide - Fleetwood MacFree Ride - The Edgar Winter GroupHey Now Now - Swirl 360Final Fire - Hans ZimmerJingle Bell Rock - Michael SherwoodHot in the City - Billy IdolGimme Some Lovin - HansonSleigh Ride - Spice GirlsSlow Ride - FoghatFive Candles (You Were There) - Jars of ClayHow - Lisa LoebFather's Love - Bob CarlisleGood Lovin' - Hanson
Not all of these songs are available on the soundtrack CD however.
Featured on the CD release are:
The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 20% based on 55 reviews.
Roger Ebert gave the film one out of four stars, calling it, "the kind of movie that makes you want to take the temperature, if not feel for the pulse, of the filmmakers".
Produced on an $85 million budget, the film took $7 million on its opening weekend. It went on to gross over $34.5 million in North America, becoming a box office flop.
Both Joseph Cross and Mika Boorem starred together in the Touched by an Angel episode "Psalm 151." Plus, Cross and Michael Keaton appeared together in Desperate Measures, which was released the same year.