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Fred Claus
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates, Ludacris, Rachel Weisz
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Warner Bros.
Web Site: www.fredclaus.net
Kiddie Movie: It should be for them, but it gets complicated.
Date Movie: Only if she's bringing your kids along.
Gratuitous Sex: Just Elizabeth Banks in a smoking-hot North Pole outfit.
Gratuitous Violence: Slapstick.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: A few here and there.
Memorable Scene: Fred visiting the Jewish family.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: David Dobkin
Produced By: David Dobkin, Jessie Nelson, Joel Silver

Fred Claus
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG

It's 1:54 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
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 complicated.

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!! L8R!!!

 

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