starring John Goodman, Ethan Suplee, Delta Burke, Chris Kattan
written by Larry Wilson and Tom Martin, based on the book by Phyllis McGinley
directed by Ron Underwood
by Ian Pugh I'm not really sure how anyone could consider Santa Claus the cure for December commercialism in this day and age, but it appears to be a popular sentiment right now. Before I knew that the network-television abortion The Year Without a Santa Claus existed, I suffered through The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, a film that carries the same awful message in a way that's worth mentioning. Tricked by Martin Short's Jack Frost into relinquishing the job of Santa Claus to him, Tim Allen's Scott Calvin returns to the North Pole to discover that Christmas has become "Frostmas," an overwrought celebration of capitalism with all the child-screaming and toy-grabbing that implies. With Jack-Santa having literally taken the "Christ" out of Christmas, Tim Allen strangely becomes a surrogate Jesus figure attempting to reclaim his holiday from the money-grubbing fat man of false jolliness, who of course represents the holiday season as we know it in reality. The Santa Clause 3 essentially amounts to an episode of Allen's sitcom "Home Improvement", which is to say not only that it's terrible, but also that its attempt at a metaphor is crude and obvious--come on, Santa Claus saving Christmas from himself? In retrospect, though, I have to admit that its joyfully malevolent predisposition to be such a balls-out hypocrite is a real head-scratcher worthy of further dissection.