Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Movie Review #12: "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" (2006)

Director: Michael Lembeck
Year: 2006
Rating: G
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Tired of being just a seasonal enhancer and jealous of the other mythical beings, Jack Frost (Martin Short) devises a plan to take Scott's (Tim Allen) place as Santa Claus.

"The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" is directed by Michael Lembeck, who has directed films like the previous installment of this franchise, "The Santa Clause 2," as well as "Tooth Fairy." Lembeck has managed to drive what started out as a halfway decent series right into the ground. The majority of the cast returns, including Tim Allen, who has now come back a third time to play Scott/Santa. Joining him is Elizabeth Mitchell as Carol/Mrs. Claus, Eric Lloyd as his son Charlie, Wendy Crewson as his ex-wife Laura, Judge Reinhold as Wendy's husband Neil, and Liliana Mumy as their daughter Lucy. New to the cast are Martin Short, who plays Jack Frost, as well as Alan Arkin and Ann-Margret as Bud and Sylvia Newman, the parents of Mrs. Claus, who have not seen their daughter since she moved to "Canada" with her "toy maker husband." Now that she is pregnant, Scott has decided they should come to visit for the holiday, but has to get around the pesky fact that they are actually in the North Pole, not Canada.

This is one of those instances where Disney should have quit while it was ahead. Back in 1994, "The Santa Clause" came out with an entire premise based on a pun. It had its heart in the right place and made a bunch of money. We don't fault them for that, and it's a pretty good film. It remained that way for nearly eight years, and then, Disney decided it needed to cash in on the franchise once more, so they slapped together "The Santa Clause 2." In this sequel, Santa would lose his powers if he didn't get married. This entry was already a stumble for the franchise, but still, it made money. Another four years came and went, and now, the inevitable "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" exists, though we really wish it didn't. We love Martin Short, but this film is an absolute mess, so much so that this sequel's entire plot goes against the premise of the first installment. The first film was all about Scott reluctantly becoming Santa with no way to undo it. However, the escape clause existing entirely makes that movie's plot pointless, thus negating all three pictures. The escape clause has time travel, which of course means a billion plot holes, including the fact that it ignores the "Mrs. Clause," which was established in part two. This film also lacks focus. Part of it seems like a wacky 'meet the parents' type of scenario where Scott tries to hide the fact that he's Santa by attempting to convince his in-laws that they are actually in Canada. The other half is some shoehorned in plot about Jack Frost being jealous of Santa Claus with a very quick resolution and a very silly purpose in the first place. It seems this entire movie banked on the comedic ability of Martin Short, and though Jack Frost is the best character by far, it isn't nearly enough to carry an entire 90ish minutes worth of screen time.

"The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" is a clear cut example of a corporate cash grab that simply shouldn't exist. Even the gag reel reeks of unfunny, awkward interactions between the actors, so it's no wonder this film has no spirit, no magic, no chemistry, and no cohesion.



My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 15%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
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Last Christmas, we were watching: "Christmas in Connecticut"

Two Christmases ago, we were watching: "Joyeux Noel"

Three Christmases ago, we were watching: "It's a Wonderful Life"

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