The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

Twelve years have passed since the release of the original Santa Clause.  That's pretty scary.  Even scarier is the fact that The Santa Clause 3 even exists.  There is no reason for this movie to exist, and worse, the filmmakers were lazy in coming up with a plot.  If they made a movie, at least they could have tried.  Instead, here's Tim Allen in his umpteenth Christmas movie.  To throw sand into the face of everybody who actually decides to watch this movie is the addition of Martin Short, as Santa's nemesis.  For some inexplicable reason, people find Short (Jiminy Glick in Lalawood, Treasure Planet) funny.  Short finds himself very amusing, and tends to overact in nearly everything he does.  Allen (Zoom, Cars) is kind of an everyman actor.  He's decent, but doesn't really stand out in anything.  This is probably why he sticks with the bland family comedies.

In The Santa Clause 3:  The Escape Clause, Santa (Allen) has to deal with Jack Frost (Short), who feels slighted that his role in the holidays is minimal, and with this wife Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell, The Santa Clause 2, Nurse Betty), who is pregnant and nearing her due date.  Frost is easy to deal with, Santa just ignores him.  Carol is a bit trickier.  Santa loves his work, and finds it hard to concentrate on getting everything ready for Christmas and taking care of Carol.  In this equation, Carol loses out, and begins to feel extremely homesick.  She's at the North Pole away from her family and surrounded by elves.  It's understandable that she begins to feel lonely, and this puts a strain on the marriage.

This is the reason why Ann Margaret (The Break-Up, Taxi) and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, Firewall) enter the picture. Director Michael Lembeck (Connie and Carla, The Santa Clause 2) got them to play Carol's parents.  They're both fantastic actors, stuck in a mediocre movie.  Arkin does his grumpypants persona, but when restricted to a family rating, it suffers badly.  Santa brings Carol's parents, and some of the other supporting cast, to the North Pole to give her a sense of family.  This only distracts him more.  Frost tricks him into activating "the escape Clause," which takes Santa back in time to when he was simply Scott Calvin.

Now, Frost is Santa and well on his way to ruining the holiday.  Calvin realizes the importance of everything (family, blah blah blah) and has to figure out a way to get everything back to normal.  Ed Decter and John J. Strauss (The Wild, Rebound) took the standard Christmas movie template and filled in the blanks with the characters.  The nice aspect about the Santa Clause movies is that even though it has been over a decade, viewers are still seeing the same actors in the same roles.  This gives the three movies a good sense of continuity, but still doesn't give it a reason for being.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 38 minutes, Rated G.

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