Movie Stats & Links
||Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti,
Miranda Richardson, Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates, Ludacris,
It should be for them, but it gets
||Only if she's
bringing your kids along.
Banks in a smoking-hot North Pole outfit.
||A few here and
||Fred visiting the
||David Dobkin, Jessie Nelson, Joel Silver
As a big fan of Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti, and as a
fan of most Christmas flicks, part of me was looking forward
to "Fred Claus." The premise seemed cute enough, with Fred
(Vince Vaughn) being Santaís (Giamatti) older brother, and
sort of a troublemaker, but the thing I feared about the
movie came true Ė the films folks just made it way too
A Movie Review
Letís start with the storyÖ
Many years ago Mother Claus (Kathy Bates) gave birth to a
giant baby and named him Nick. Fred was Nickís older
brother, and at first loved his brother, until Nick became
momís favorite. Eventually, to explain why Santa doesnít get
older, we find that when one becomes a Saint, well, neither
he nor his immediate family age anymore (kinda like
"Highlander"). So while Nick is keeping kids the world over
happy at Christmas time, Fred has settled into life as a
repo-man in Chicago, in love with Wanda (Rachel Weisz), but
not a very good boyfriend. In a bit of a financial bind Fred
has to turn to his brother for help, and Nick tells Fred
heíll give him the money if he comes and works for him a bit
at the North Pole. But Fred is sort of screw-up, and thatís
not Santaís only problem Ė Clyde (Kevin Spacey) is along to
investigate Santaís efficiency problems, threatening to shut
the operation down and outsource it to the South Pole.
So, like most "trying to feel good" Christmas movies, we
can assume somehow Fred will come back around to the family
he deserted years ago and probably help save Christmas,
Clyde will get his do (or we find out he isnít such a bad
guy), and Fred will also get the girl.
As simple as all of that seems, "Fred Claus" actually
gets too complicated at times, probably having one subplot
too many, that really starts to make the movie drag. Itís
tough enough for Santa trying to bring the family back
together, but now heís stuck with having to save his
operation from the likes of the evil Clyde, and if thatís
not enough we get Fred trying to help Willie (John Michael
Higgins), the head elf, with his love-life.
The other problem I had with "Fred Claus" is that a lot
of the jokes have been done already, in a mixture between
"The Santa Clause" series and "Elf." Yup, there we have Fred
staying with Willie, with Fredís legs dangling off the top
of the bunk bed, we have Fred in the bathroom made for
little people, and we get some talk about Clydeís problems
with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. The most original
part of the movie, at a Siblingís Anonymous meeting, was
pretty funny, but how many little kids out there are going
to understand a scene including the likes of Roger Clinton,
Frank Stallone, and Stephen Baldwin.
Hidden in "Fred Claus" could have been a Christmas
classic, because I will admit, there was a scene where I did
get weepy towards the end, but I think the downfall of the
movie was the "Clyde with his hidden agenda to destroy
Santa" story. If the movie had just stuck to the story of
Nick trying to get the family back together they could have
easily shaved twenty minutes off of the film (thus
eliminating a lot of the dragging portions), and kept the
core spirit of Christmas at its heart Ė family.
Gosh, I so much wanted to like "Fred Claus" a lot more,
but it really seemed to try to pack in too much, and even
though I did get a little weepy Iíve got to only give the
movie 2 Ĺ stars out of 5.
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!!