There comes a time when it’s best to leave that old Santa suit in the attic — especially now that the kids have grown up and gone away. The first two installments of the Santa Clause franchise were fresh twists on family holiday fun. The latest chapter arrives with all the joy of a recycled fruitcake. It’s not Tim Allen’s fault; as everyday dad Scott Calvin turned Santa, he’s as amiable as ever. Neither can Martin Short be faulted as a scene-stealing Jack Frost out to hijack Christmas glory. No, blame the story-within-a-story framework from writers Ed Decter and John J. Strauss and director Michael Lembeck: it wallows in an aimless hodge-podge of gags without a mission. Alan Arkin and Ann-Margret add a dash of cheer as Santa in-laws who’ve been led to believe that the North Pole is a toy factory in Canada.
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The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause's Web site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/santaclause3/