Title: THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE
Year of Release—Film: 2006
Arthur 2: On the Rocks... Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls... Grease 2... Jaws 4: The Revenge... Speed 2: Cruise Control... to this Mensa group of stupidly annoying unnecessary sequels I must add Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. I had the great misfortune to sit through this total waste of time when it debuted, and with Christmas season in full bloom I'm here to warn you that one word in the title should suffice...ESCAPE!
I'll admit I haven't seen THE Santa Clause 2 yet but remembered with some fondness the gentle joy and all-around seasonal glow I got from seeing the original THE Santa Clause back in 1994 and thought “what the heck.” Maybe if I had seen part 2 I wouldn't have been so confused by part 3 but that wouldn't have made part 3 any better. Scott “Santa Claus” Calvin (Tim Allen) is now a full-time North Pole resident along with his heavily pregnant wife (Elizabeth Mitchell) who, as Christmas draws nearer, begins to miss her folks. Because of a heavy workload, Santa decides to bring her mother, played by Ann-Margaret, and her father, played by Allen Arkin, to the North Pole for the baby's birth. However, since Santa's been passing himself off to the wife's parents as a Canadian toy-maker all these years he must come up with a clever way to get them to the north pole and convince them that they are in Canada.
Meanwhile, Jack Frost (Martin Short) has been ousted by the League of Legendary Seasons and ordered to follow Santa around to learn about giving and kindness. Martin Short's performance as the bitter and scheming Jack Frost is the one breath of fresh...if cold...air in this movie. Gone is the PC Neil, Scott's ex-wife's boyfriend from the first movie. This time Judge Reinhold plays Neil like a man with severe brain damage (ala Regarding Henry) and gambols through the movie like an overly large 6 year old. Gone is Bernard, the head elf and one of the more memorable parts in the original movie. He's replaced by Curtis, a chubby, not very bright elf that is easily tricked into giving Jack Frost the secret to destroying Santa. Scott's son Charlie makes a brief appearance as a troubled teenager but for the most part has been replaced by Neil's sugary-sweet niece, Lucy.
Mrs. Claus's parents, along with brain-dead Neil, Scott/Santa's charmingly accepting ex-wife Laura and cavity-causing Lucy, are whisked away to the north pole now disguised (with the use of false signage such as Exchange Bank of Bacon) as Canada, where they are told that all Canadians are four-feet in height. Meanwhile, Jack Frost, determined to take over the coveted “head fat man's” position and ruin Christmas, mucks up the works at the toy factory.
Don't worry...I'm not giving out spoilers. Only warnings. Take your hard-earned DVD-buying dollars out of your right pocket and put it in your left pocket. DO NOT give it to the video store or Redbox!! If you want the warm glow of the Christmas season, put the cash in a bell-ringer's red kettle. DO NOT give the money to Disney! The story line makes no sense and resolves itself so late in the movie that the credits are rolling by the time you “get the point.” The actors are so under-directed that kindergarten pageants look more professional. With a star-studded cast of veteran actors such as Tim Allen, Peter Boyle, Martin Short, Ann-Margaret, Allen Arkin and Judge Reinhold, director Michael Lembeck should have inspired better. From the cheap looking sets to the heavy use of bad CGI to the jaw-droppingly bad script, there is nothing to recommend this trilogy's limping conclusion. Ho-Ho-ho-hum.
Enjoy it… or Not! (Probably not)