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SANTA CLAUSE 3, THE: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE

SYNOPSIS:
Christmas is almost here and Santa (Tim Allen), aka Scott Calvin, is working overtime, juggling activities at his workshop while looking after wife Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell), who is just about to give birth to Baby Claus. Santa arranges Carol's parents (Alan Arkin and Ann-Margret) to visit, together with his former wife Laura (Wendy Crewson), her husband Neil (Judge Reinhold), son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) and daughter Lucy (Liliana Mumy). But the in-laws are not aware their daughter has married Santa, and believe they are heading not to the North Pole, but to Canada. Meanwhile mischievous Jack Frost (Martin Short) has become ambitious and wants to take over Santa's job.

Review by Louise Keller:
There's a bonus in Santa's sack this time around, with the inclusion of Alan Arkin as his in-law. It's a nice touch and those who remember Arkin in Arthur Hiller's marvellous 1979 comedy The In-Laws with Peter Falk, will especially enjoy this touch. Tim Allen's good natured Scott, who has been wearing the Santa mantle for 12 years is rushed off his feet at the office and at home, resulting in a genuine Christmas Crisis. The scriptwriters have continued their inventive treatment of humanising Santa, while keeping the fantasy intact. Colourful and bright, funny and witty, it's a magical fantasy that will please young and old.

Being married to Santa is not all tinsel and snowflakes; Mrs Claus is feeling decidedly alone as she waits for the birth of her baby. She even snaps 'I hope you're not delivering when I'm delivering.' Arkin once again plays the innocent, who together with his wife (Ann-Margret) are given a dose of dream-dust before being taken to the North Pole, which has been disguised as Canada. When Arkin's Bud is shown the Santa workshop, presented as Scott's toy factory, he is told the tiny elves are in fact, petite Canadians. 'No, Tom Cruise is petite,' Bud replies, 'these people are short.' Martin Short, with a Cheshire-cat grin painted on his face under his spiky, silver hair and raised eyebrows, is in his element as Jack Frost, who is elegantly clad in an immaculate silver blue ensemble. Irritating he is, and when Scott's niece Lucy (Liliana Mumy) tells him to 'chill', Frost gives her a withering look and replies icily 'I invented chill'.

All our favourite characters are back - Cupid, Father Time, Mother Nature, The Tooth Fairy and Spencer Breslin's Head Elf Curtis who manages Santa's schedule with clockwork efficiency. Not many of us get a chance to see 'what if' and 'what might have been' if different choices were made, but in a clever twist of time travel, Scott turns the clock back and we get to see Frost delivering a hilarious rewritten version of New York, New York. We are reminded never to underestimate the power of a hug in this warm and magical film those themes centre around the importance of family.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SANTA CLAUSE 3, THE: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE (G)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell, Ann-Margaret, Alan Arkin, Spencer Breslin, Wendy Crewson

PRODUCER: Tim Allen, Robert F. Newmeyer, Brian Reilly, Jeffrey Silver

DIRECTOR: Michael Lembeck

SCRIPT: Ed Decter, John J. Strauss, Leon Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robbie Greenberg

EDITOR: David Finfer

MUSIC: George S. Clinto

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Holland

RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 16, 2006







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