(On TV, December 2018) Every Santa Clause movie in the series gets markedly worse, and if The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is not quite terrible, it’s certainly heading in that direction. “Was there anything else to do with the premise?” is the question that producers should have examined more closely before embarking on a third instalment, as what they resort to is a highly unpleasant back-to-the-beginning parallel reality and an active antagonist in the persona of Jack Frost. Martin Short isn’t to be blamed for playing Frost—he gives it everything he’s got, and his madcap performance does hold some interest. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is often painful to go through. As is often the case in film series, baby makes three—or at least becomes an important plot point of the third film. Much of the creative juice of the series has run dry, and running off fumes barely gets the instalment past the finishing line. Tim Allen is blander than bland in a role for which he was picked because he was bland, and that’s saying something. The Escape Clause is the kind of movie they throw alongside the previous ones to make for a series collection DVD 3-pack, but it’s not a given that everyone will get to it.