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The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
from Film Forum, 11/09/06

Tim Allen's blockbuster Christmas franchise continues with The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, which features Martin Short as that chilly scoundrel Jack Frost.

Is this third installment an example of excellent family entertainment, more Hollywood mediocrity, or just a chance to take advantage of tired holiday shoppers willing to spend money to distract their kids for 90 minutes?

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service ) calls it a "lame third go-round" and a "yuletide clunker." He says, "[D]on't expect your belly to shake with laughter like a bowl full of jelly. More likely you'll be looking for an escape clause—or route—of your own. … The movie's sweet message about the importance of family and the power of love, unfortunately, comes wrapped in a slapdash script clumsily directed by Michael Lembeck, who, in rightly criticizing the crass commercialization of Christmas, forwards a secular view of the holiday that ignores its religious underpinning."

Lisa Rice (Crosswalk) says, "Despite its dips and lags in interest here and there, the kids in the screening really enjoyed the movie and said they'd recommend it to others.For parents, again it's sad that almost all Christmas movies fill our kids' heads with Santa and elves and reindeer and sleighs—and even good things like hoping and wishing and helping and family.But they completely ignore the reason for the season—the celebration of our wonderful Lord." Still, she encourages people to "enjoy yet another year of Hollywood's mindless holiday entertainment!"

Bob Smithouser (Plugged In) says it "keeps its dialogue as clean as freshly fallen snow" and includes "a realistic glimpse of the fallout from divorce." He also notes "great messages" like "the need to be honest and gracious with relatives, and persevere through trials to fulfill a calling. Parents can even use Jack Frost's ambitions and deceptions as examples of how Satan tries to tempt and distract us."

Mainstream critics want to freeze out the whole Santa Clause franchise.