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Fred Claus: Holiday Classic?

The recipe for the perfect holiday movie requires a pinch of star power, a dash of humor, and a heaping handful of good old-fashioned family feuds. There are a slew of films that have mastered this combination, namely National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and, more recently, Elf. Not only have these films perfected the holiday formula, they have since become modern-day classics. What Thanksgiving or Christmas is complete without at least one viewing of the aforementioned movies? And while Fred Claus seems to have all of the ingredients to add it to the list of Christmas classics, it falls short. Or should I say it's a little bland?

One thing Fred Claus certainly is not lacking is that pinch of star power. Vince Vaughn plays Fred, the brother to Paul Giamatti's Nick Claus (AKA Santa). The film focuses on the relationship between these brothers spanning the course of many centuries. At the very beginning we see the brothers quarreling as little boys do. The difference is that the boys aren't fighting over who gets what toy, they're fighting over who Nick gives the toy to. You see, Nick is a do-gooder from birth and as such is the prize possession of the boys' mother, played by Kathy Bates. From there the boys grow older and Nick becomes sainted and as a result he and his family become eternal. Fast forward to present day and the two boys are estranged, Nick lives in the North Pole (naturally) and Fred resides in Chicago. And though they may be separated by location, they're both in predicaments that require the other. To find out why

Fred is a repo man who's unlucky in love with his girlfriend (a badly miscasted Rachel Weisz) and out of money. Nick agrees to lend a heaping handful (sick of the food puns yet?) on the condition that Fred agrees to come work at the North Pole during the busy holiday season. Fred reluctantly agrees. But when he arrives, he finds out that Nick has problems of his own, namely an efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) who feels that the Santa isn't as speedy as he could be with the growing demands of children across the world. Unsurprisingly, Fred runs amok and ruins Nick's chance of impressing the efficiency expert. Shocker!

The lack of true surprises is the ultimate downfall of the movie. It's all been done before, and better. The only true gem of the movie comes in the form of a siblings anonymous meeting (similar to alcoholics anonymous) where non-famous brothers complain about their famous siblings. It's almost worth the price of admission, but not enough to add this to my short list of holiday classics.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.


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Join The Conversation
Jinx Jinx 8 years
If its Beast of Burden, thats an excellent song! :) I haven't seen the movie.
em113 em113 8 years
This is so late, but the song you're referring to is beast of burden by the rolling stones.
judylai81 judylai81 8 years
I think I'll rent it cuz the previews on tv dont convience me that it's good enough to see on the big screen
lorenashley lorenashley 8 years
I am not surprised. I think he is very overrated.
laceykk23 laceykk23 8 years
does anyone know the song when fred is teaching willie how to dance? i really wanna know but i cant figure it out!! im pretty sure its a rolling stones song but cant figure out the title. anyone who can help that would be awesome!!!
mamaseacat mamaseacat 8 years
It was okay. It's a more serious Christmas movie. Not something kids would particularly enjoy. I was hoping Will Ferrell would show up in his elf gear.
minglee minglee 8 years
saw it. i liked it.. just kinda gets you into the season spirit early
Hope5 Hope5 8 years
I saw it and it's awesome!
Jinx Jinx 8 years
Although it was cute, I would never put Elf in the Christmas classics list, not yet, anyways.
princessgroban82 princessgroban82 8 years
I saw it and thought it was cute. I love Vince Vaughn. To me, he can do no wrong!
nikkih nikkih 8 years
I think it might be cute enough, but nothing will ever compare to A Christmas Story. That's the best Christmas flick ever! Then there's It's a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Polar Express....so many good ones!
hotstuff hotstuff 8 years
This movie looks like it's soooo bad. I won't even waste my time seeing this not even if it came on tv for free. I also didn't like Elf! The last origional Christmas film was "Home Alone" and "National Lampoon Christmas Vacation" is the best christmas movie ever made! Squirrrrrel!!!
em113 em113 8 years
Really? Granted I went into it with low expectations, but I really liked the movie. It was cute and funny. Most christmas movies aren't original, who cares? It was still very enjoyable for me.
bellanatella bellanatella 8 years
That's a shame, I might have given this a shot.
greentea14 greentea14 8 years
I saw it yesterday and I absolutely agree, I love Vince Vaughn but still I think it could have been way better.
lil-l lil-l 8 years
Saw it.....Liked it, but I think I expected it to be funnier. Some of thr jokes are for adults only that kids won't get.
A-S-I-A A-S-I-A 8 years
Don't plan on watching it. It doesn't seem original :\
Kazagirl Kazagirl 8 years
Thanks for the review, I was planing on seeing it this weekend but some things came up. I think I will probably pass, and wait until it comes out on video.
terryt18 terryt18 8 years
I heard it was unoriginal. Prolly got some cute jokes tho. Won't pay for it.
dollymama dollymama 8 years
I will still see it because I love me some Vince Vaughn
musiclvr224 musiclvr224 8 years
I still want to see it but I may wait until it comes out out on DVD.
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