*/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B-
starring Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell, Judge Reinhold
screenplay by Ed Decter & John J. Strauss
directed by Michael Lembeck
by Bill Chambers Much like a TV show that's been on the air too long, the Santa Clause films have accrued an unwieldy supporting cast (including those old harbingers of cancellation: grandparents and babies) and begun hitting the reset button on characters thought to be at or near the end of their arcs. Here, workaholic Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is reminded via the frustrations of his second wife that he might not be husband material--which, all things considered, isn't a bad direction for the series to take, if only because we rarely see remarriage grappled with in any context on the silver screen. Still, as the house style has evolved such that it can no longer accommodate even the quasi-realist, Oh, God! Book II trappings of the original, we get that reductive trope about a family man who takes pride in his work being a man who's asking for karmic retribution. Never mind that he's fucking Santa Claus and the needs of the many would appear to outweigh the needs of the few in this case. I suppose it's progress or innovation that Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell, whose role as one of the child catchers in Running Scared retroactively renders her a subversive presence in these films) is expecting and in her third trimester at that, thus upping the asshole quotient when Santa allows his attention to drift towards other impending deliveries for five-nanosecond stretches--but at the risk of applying logic where it isn't wanted, why would Santa impregnate his wife nine months before Christmastime? It's counterintuitive at best. And if it was an accident, surely there's an 'Abortion Clause' he could've invoked. Maybe they're saving that for a future instalment.