The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

2006, G, 98 min. Directed by Michael Lembeck. Starring Tim Allen, Martin Short, Ann-Margret, Alan Arkin, Elizabeth Mitchell, Eric Lloyd, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, Liliana Mumy, Spencer Breslin.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Nov. 10, 2006

It boggles the mind that Saddam Hussein and assorted cohorts have finally won their rightful place in the global noose while various and sundry villains associated with this third entry in the Santa Clause franchise of flaccidly feel-good, winter nostrums will no doubt be allowed to walk the Earth with nary a qualm nor backward glance. Director Lembeck, working from a script by Ed Decter and John J. Strauss, has managed such a stilted, manipulative, and altogether unfun film – and one that will be exported all around the world – that it counts as a crime against not only humanity but all notions of art, entertainment, and our species' subjectively singular sense of humor. Nothing Ebenezer Scrooge witnessed on his black night of reckoning compares for sheer awesome dreadfulness to the sight of Short's Jack Frost cavorting and scheming against Allen's ponderous depiction of St. Nicholas. Let's mince neither words nor meat: Walt Disney Pictures is looking to lighten the family coffers with this soulless monstrosity, and parents who give in to their young charges in the interest of being good moms and dads would be far better off renting something slightly less soul-deadening, like, say, The 400 Blows or Shoah. Granted, there are a few moments of presumably unintentional surreality (Mrs. Claus' delivery room sports doors cribbed from Dario Argento's Suspiria! Santa's fireplace is a visual riff on John Boorman's Zardoz!), but these minor trinkets and baubles serve only to illuminate the dross and dreck that overflow the rest of this slick ’n' slimy stocking of woe. Bah, humbug.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Michael Lembeck Films
Tooth Fairy
Due to a misdeed, a tough hockey player, played by Dwayne Johnson, must serve as a tooth fairy for a week, tutu and all.

Kimberley Jones, Jan. 29, 2010

Connie and Carla
Witnessing a mob hit can be a real drag.

Kimberley Jones, April 23, 2004

More by Marc Savlov
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Intimate, semi-improvised last night at a dive bar sees delight in the dregs

July 24, 2020

Hill of Freedom
Delicate South Korean tale of love lost and found finally gets U.S. release

June 12, 2020


The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Michael Lembeck, Tim Allen, Martin Short, Ann-Margret, Alan Arkin, Elizabeth Mitchell, Eric Lloyd, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, Liliana Mumy, Spencer Breslin

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle