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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes
Santa’s black sheep mugs for the camera.
Vince Vaughn, Kathy Bates, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Kathy Bates, Alan Corduner and Paul Giamatti
Vince Vaughn teams up with his Wedding Crashers director to find a new vehicle for his maladroit posturings. Vince plays Fred, a repo man from Chicago who tries to make his way through the world. Vince is trying to calm his girlfriend, while trying to forget the fact that Santa is his younger brother. Unfortunately, the need for a loan has Fred going to the North Pole. While trying to score some cash, Fred has to help his brother fight off the tedious supervisor Clyde Northcut.
It’s Christmas at the Shelter this year, kids.
Fred Claus is an exercise in film economics. Due to mass syndication, repeat DVD yields and a generally normal-to-high box office, the holiday film is usually successful. But, it’s the bad kind of successful. As proven with this year’s Four Christmases, it becomes the kind of film that studios realize idiots will drop repeat business on. Therefore, the mandate becomes clear. Make more shit, package the shit and place it front of the drooling masses.
In a moment, she’s going to start crying when she realizes that she’s in this movie.
Fred Claus could’ve been a lot more than what it was. When Giamatti and Vaughn share the screen, you see two actors that think well on their feet. But, splitting the duo reveals the shoddy scaffolding of yet another lame Holiday flick. Unfortunately, Kevin Spacey gets shoe-horned into carrying the main plot by portraying a character with less dimensions than a Rankin & Bass thug. Then, there’s Ludacris as a poorly CG’d elf. Yeah, they went there.
Lex Luthor and Narcoleptic Santa team up to go within Miranda Richardson.
What kept bothering me about the movie was the tangents. They would start up a bit about Fred and Santa being immortal and then drop it. After the opening of the film, you’re left wondering what has Fred been doing for the last five hundred years or so? Why does he act relatively normal in Chicago? What did they use to keep Kathy Bates from eating the baby in the opening scene?
Hold it, Giamatti. Drinking yourself to death isn’t getting your ass out of this picture.
Fred Claus gets a few things right. I’ve mentioned the Vaughn/Giamatti team-up. But, where the film scores is with the casting of Elizabeth Banks as Santa’s piece of ass. It’s a PG movie, so it’s not like she gets down and rough. So, don’t get too excited guys. If she wouldn’t flash a tit for Kevin Smith, she isn’t going to do it here.
I’d make a joke about Kevin Spacey fucking tiny men. But, that’s too easy of a joke. Instead, I’ll comment on his Sweater Vest. I bet Bryan Singer bought it for him for Christmas.
If the effort was to produce a satire about the corporate world is taking over Christmas, then that boat sank. John Lithgow and Dudley Moore rocked that shit with a clearer story roughly twenty-five years prior. No matter what I say, your kids will make you pick this up. They’ll laugh at it along with your older family members. You will feel your parent turn to shit and slide out of your ears. But, you’ll put on a smile and slug your way through it. After all, you are part of the Holiday Movie Machine. You are the unfortunate consumer who buys the ticket or DVD to appease someone else. Thus, contributing more cash to making more shit that you don’t want to see. Joseph Heller wept.
The DVD has a pretty strong transfer with no audio dropout. The additional scenes were cut for a reason, as they are nothing more than extensions of scenes that went on for too long. The trailers are average, but the commentary is something odd. It feels almost as Dobkin is unconsciously apologizing for the film. Take that for what you will.