The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Movie Review

Of the many things I dislike about the Santa Clause series, the one that bothers me the most, the very very most, is this: Now, whenever any of the critics on this site tries to write the name "Santa Claus" they almost invariably spell it "Santa Clause." That extra "e" is absolutely maddening, and it is everywhere I look, unintentionally.

Against all odds, the e-happy Santa Clause series is back with a third installment, which involves Santa (Tim Allen) facing off against the Napoleon-complexed Jack Frost (Martin Short), who's got his eyes on the prize of being the supremo wintertime icon. His idea is to take advantage of a rare "escape clause" which lets Santa step down willingly if he says a certain phrase, so Frost can sieze the big red suit. Naturally, trickery is involved. Apparently Jack Frost is a very bad boy. You can tell by the fright wig hairdo.

Eventually Frost gets his way, and the North Pole is turned into an alternate-universe theme park, and everyone below the Arctic Circle is miserable, because Frost-as-Santa doesn't care about making people happy. I'd say it's inspired by It's a Wonderful Life but the shallowness of the last act of the film makes me wonder if the filmmakers didn't have, say, Back to the Future Part II in mind instead. Either way, you've seen this faux dystopia before, and you know full well how it will all end up.

Naturally a variety of subplots abound to fill time that the threadbare plot can't do on its own: Mrs. Claus (no "e"!) is having a baby. And her in-laws (Alan Arkin and Ann-Margret) are coming to visit... only they don't know their daughter is married to Santa. So the elves cover up their ears and everyone pretends they're in Canada. Sadly, this little side plot is as funny as anything else in the film.

Special effects are in abundance, but none of them are very well-produced, much like the film on the whole. Let's all ask Mr. Allen to hang this up while he still has some dignity left. Certainly someone wants to get a Toy Story 3 going, don't they?

The DVD includes outtakes, and that's about it.

Still full of hot air.


The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Rating

" Grim "

Rating: G, 2006


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