Fred Claus (2007)






Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, Kathy Bates, Rachel Weisz, John Michael Higgins, Kevin Spacey, Elizabeth Banks, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Ludacris, Allan Corduner, Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton Jr., Stephen Baldwin, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Liam James, Theo Stevenson


Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) tried, but he could never live up to the example set by his younger brother Nicholas (Paul Giamatti), who was just perfect, a Saint actually. Years later, he is a genial but self-centered guy in Chicago looking for $50,000 to open an off-track-betting shop. When one scam goes awry, he calls Nick at the North Pole for a loan: Nick will give him the money only if Fred comes up to help a few days with the Christmas rush.


Like Fred, I'm not a big fan of Christmas, so I wasn't particularly looking forward to watching this film. But the cast, which can claim three Oscar-winners, an Oscar-nominee, and comedian Vince Vaughn, made me change my mind. Was it worth it? Kind of.

While it's quite entertaining and smooth, Fred Claus is perhaps the most humourless Christmas flick I've ever seen.

Despite being completely unfunny, the film does have some good elements. For instance director David Dobkin invite us to think about family, and in particular on the relationship between siblings. It's always tough having a sibling doing better in their life than you, and always a struggle to get out from that big shadow.

There is a scene where there is a Siblings Anonymous meeting where there are Frank Stallone, Stephen Baldwin, and Roger Clinton talking about the struggle about living under the shadow of a famous brother: it is witty and a great insight. -- the film could have done with more scenes like that. 

At the end, the conflict is resolved for the better, but in a quite simplistic manner - it's a Christmas movie after all - so to allow a younger audience to understand the deep meaning of it. The film also make you feel like you need to be more tolerant of your family during the holidays.

Vince Vaughn once again plays his typical character, which is usually good for some laughs, but somehow it didn't work much this time, maybe because of the R rating. I really couldn't picture Paul Giamatti as Santa Claus, but here he is, and he does a quite good job. Kevin Spacey probably felt sorry for playing Lex Luthor, and decided so to play the nasty efficiency man that eventually turns out to be a Superman fan and helps Santa out. Anyway, what was going on with Rachel Weisz's pathetic Cockney accent?

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