Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (U)

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The ViewBristol Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/11/2006

One out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Badly written, shockingly acted and appallingly directed threequel that will please precisely no-one.

What's it all about?
Tim Allen dons the fat suit again for his third outing as Santa Clause, following the success of 1994's The Santa Clause and the 2002 sequel. This time around he has two big problems – he has to keep his true identity a secret from his visiting in-laws (Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret) and he has to foil a sneaky takeover plot orchestrated by the jealous Jack Frost (Martin Short).

The Bad
It's difficult to know where to start, because this film is so mind-bogglingly awful it will make you want to chew your arms off. The biggest problem is the appalling and badly-paced plot – the escape clause action of the title doesn't really get going until about an hour into the film, at which point everything is neatly wrapped up in under 20 minutes, without exploring the film's only good idea.

It's also horrendously overscored, with every so-called joke accompanied by a jarring musical chord, in case you missed it. It also has some of the most shocking instances of product placement imaginable e.g a secret passage is hidden behind a Red Bull vending machine.

The Worst
The desperation doesn't end there though. It's not remotely funny and eventually resorts to jokes about farting reindeer in a last ditch (and doomed) attempt to get laughs. Allen and Short do their best but they're surrounded by some of the worst onscreen mugging ever committed to film (chief culprit: Spencer Breslin) and a grumpy-looking supporting cast who look like they can't wait to leave the set (Alan Arkin and Aisha Tyler in particular).

In addition, the film's message is confusing because the supposedly nightmarish alternate North Pole doesn't seem all that different from the one under Santa Tim.

Worth seeing?
In a word, no. This is easily one of the worst films of the year. Avoid like your life depended on it.

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Content updated: 13/11/2012 23:32

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