It’s official. Hollywood has run out of ways to milk Christmas for everything that it’s worth. I know because I have seen its end of days and it’s called “The Santa Clause 3.”
And wouldn’t you know? It’s out on DVD just in time for Christmas. What magic irony! Santa obviously didn’t get my letter.
The story picks up with Santa, played by Tim Allen, living in the North Pole with his Mrs. Claus, played by Elizabeth Mitchell, who is pregnant with their first child. In fact, one of the very first scene of the film is Mrs. Claus going into labor. That’s just what I want to see on Christmas morning: a pregnant woman screaming for the gates of holy Hell to open just to punish the man who knocked her up. Merry Christmas, everyone! Who wants another slice of placenta?
Santa is busier than ever trying to prepare for his Christmas run, but at the behest of his beloved, he flies his in-laws, played by Alan Arkin and Ann Margaret, up to the North Pole. Of course, they can’t know he’s Santa and they are actually spending the holidays at Santa’s Workshop, so they bring them to the North Pole under the clever guise that they are actually in Canada. Never mind the fact that they are the only full grown people in the entire place and thousands of tiny elves are running around. We’ll just tell them Canada is overpopulated with midgets.
To make matters worse, a jealous Jack Frost, played by Martin Short, wants more attention in the realm of legendary creatures, so he plots to overthrow Santa with the help of the “Escape Clause” that sends Santa back in time to when he became Santa way back at the beginning of the first film.
This whole thing is a giant festive mess. The first “Santa Clause” movie actually wasn’t too bad. Sure it was the usual Disney family sap, but it least it was sweet in parts and it wasn’t just another needless rehashing of “A Christmas Carol.” The second seemed like they were pushing things a bit when Santa finds a smaller clause that requires him to get a Mrs. Clause, but every Santa needs a little ho ho ho. The third just feels like they are trying to get too much use out of last year’s gift wrapping.
The punchlines for the jokes fit into one of three categories: festive puns, slapstick pratfalls or farts. It’s a wonder Disney needs writers anymore. Just about any joke they come up with for a live-action family friendly feature involves someone farting or falling down and then farting again.
Everyone’s performance just seems thrown in and stale. The strong emotion I felt was watching poor Alan Arkin, one of my most favorite movie actors of all time, drudge through this thing like a marathon runner who’s just dying to get to the end.
Martin Short, like always, goes way over the top with his portrayal of the evil Frost who after becoming Santa turns the North Pole into an overpriced tourist resort, which in itself was a nice chance for the screenwriters to bite the hand that feeds them. I only wished they used more teeth.
If you’re after festive family fare this holiday, there are tons of better Christmas movies to watch than this. The only reason you should buy this for your kids is if they’ve been bad this season. I’m talking Paris Hilton bad.
The Upside: When Martin Short becomes Santa, he looks just like a strung Nick Nolte.
The Downside: Even the outtakes weren’t funny.
On the Side: The guy in the Easter Bunny suit is Jay Thomas who goes on “Late Show” every year at Christmas time and tries to knock the meatloaf off the Christmas tree with a football.