November 9, 2006

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The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (G)
Tim Allen scratches at the dirt underneath the bottom of the barrel and dares us to not be filled with holiday glee in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, a movie utterly devoid of merit.

Santa a.k.a. Scott Calvin (Allen) is nervous. Not only is Christmas approaching but Mrs. Clause a.k.a. Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell, evil Other on Lost) a.k.a. wife-obtained-in-the-last-movie is expecting. Sad about having to live in a children's production of The Nutcracker and deeply disturbed by the prospect of having her birth attended by a child-OBGYN (I know they're all supposed to be "elves" but I'm not buying it), Carol wants to be with her family. Instead of releasing her from captivity, Santa decides to bring Carol's parents to visit. Also? His ex-wife (Wendy Crewson), her husband (Judge Reinhold) and their daughter Lucy (Liliana Murny). Because nothing says season's freakin' greetings like the presence of your husband's ex-wife! When you're pregnant! And living in a gingerbread village!

Santa's got bigger problems than Carol's impending mental breakdown or even than trying to convince Carol's parents that this candy-cane wonderland is really Canada he's got the scheming Jack Frost (Martin Short) to deal with. Frost is sick of being one of the lesser members of the legendary figures club and he devises a plan to take over Christmas. How? It involves a magic snowglobe, time travel and turning the North Pole into a theme park, complete with reindeer petting zoo and Broadway-style revue. Sound confusing? Don't worry, by the time everybody's learning the true meaning of Christmas (and of the difference between good marketing and bad marketing), your singular thought will be leaving the theater.

I'm not sure who embarrasses himself more here Allen for sticking with this rickety sleigh or Short for jumping on it now. I just know I feel bad for everybody involved with this movie, though no one more so than us, the people who for whatever reason have to purchase a ticket to and then watch it. F

Rated G for everybody (who can stomach it)! Directed by Michael Lembeck and written by Ed Decter and John J. Strauss (from characters by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause will fill your mind with one hour and 38 minutes of Christmas cheer, like it or not, and is distributed in wide release by Buena Vista Pictures.

Amy Diaz