Review of 'The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause'

3rd film in the 'Santa Clause' series

santa_clause3.jpg Following hot on the heals of The Santa Clause 2 we find Carol, now Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell), heavily pregnant and one of the “Legendary Figures”, Jack Frost (Martin Short) causing trouble. With Jack's help, Scott, of course now Santa (Tim Allen) begins to doubt whether his wife is entirely happy having left her previous life to live at the North Pole, so he decides to bring her parents along with ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson), her husband Neil (Judge Reinhold), and their daughter Lucy (Liliana Mumy) to the pole for the holidays…having the complex camouflaged as a Canadian town to preserve the secret. With delays to Christmas production and the stress of the visiting relatives Frost tricks Santa into evoking “The Escape Clause” where it is as if he never agreed to become Santa in the first place…

Using the troupe of yet another “Clause” to the original “Santa Clause” that Scott agreed to, this is a rather confusing and ultimately unsatisfying final instalment (?) in the “Santa Clause” franchise with a rather unlikeable Jack Frost. Sure Frost is supposed to be bad but so bad there is nothing to like is the death knell in a, let's face it, kids film. There are still some charming, funny moments but ultimately this is a by-the-numbers film that only proves interesting when things revert to the way they would have been had Scott never agreed to be Santa and that is equally nasty and cold. “Nasty and cold” is the theme throughout “The Escape Clause” with not only Frost but also the parent-in-laws extreme negativity, Santa's stress and the pending pregnancy. There is not a lot of real, pleasant fun on show, not even any real “cute” moments. Sure, we need to be taken to the depths before we are once again at the heights but this film spends far too long in the depths and ends up struggling to rise back up again, ending up being on the whole more depressing than fun. It seems the filmmakers seem to have been looking for something new to tell in the story but at the expense of loosing the heart and joy that made the first film so good (the second was not as good). Even the comedic elements are few and far between which is ironic given the two big-name comedians that headline the bill…

Ultimately there is a lot of cold and not enough warmth here for a Christmas film. Unsurprising “The Santa Clause 3” was the last in the series.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-01-24

Directed by: Michael Lembeck

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Year: 2006

Length: 97 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Other reviewed films in the 'Santa Clause' series:

Other reviewed films by Michael Lembeck: