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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Fred Claus

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Judy Thorburn

"Fred Claus" - No Clause For Celebration

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"FRED CLAUS" - NO CLAUSE FOR CELEBRATION

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

I can’t tell you how many Christmas movies about Santa Clause have been made, but, I have never seen one that revolved around his brother. That’s a new twist. Who ever heard that Santa had a family other than his missus, and his extended family of faithful, hard working elves and reindeer? But that’s Hollywood screenwriters for you, always working on a new angle to, hopefully, attract audiences. Bad news, guys, you failed big time with this flop.

Vince Vaughn, plays the title character of Fred Clause, older brother to Nick, whom mom (Kathy Bates) always favored, thought of as a saint, and wanted Fred to be more like. Fred loves Nick, but can’t stand living in the shadow of his younger sibling who grew up to fulfill his Mom’s prophesy as someone the world came to know and love as St. Nick, aka, Santa Claus (Paul Giammati).

As for Fred, when this fairy tale is forwarded to present day Chicago we find him as an adult, working as a repo man with issues including continued resentment towards his brother, a beautiful British girlfriend Wanda (Rachel Weisz) that works as a meter maid, and money problems that comes to a head when a run in with Salvation Army Santa impersonators working the street corners for charity donations lands him in jail and he needs money for bail. Who does he go to for help? None other than Nick, who agrees to give Fred the needed cash, but with a stipulation. Fred has to go to the North Pole, and work for Nick in preparation for Christmas to earn his keep.

Of course, no sooner does Fred arrive at Santa’s digs that other problems pop up. For one, Kevin Spacey shows up as an efficiency expert who threatens to shut down Santa’s gift making operation. He’s a baddie, alright that has to be dealt with. Then there is Willie (John Michael Higgins) the head elf, with girl problems. He’s crazy over Santa’s helper, normal sized Charlene (Elizabeth Banks). If only Willie could learn how to dance, maybe she would be interested in him. Looks like Fred came to visit just at the right time.

Now, since this is ultimately supposed to be a sweet tale with a message about redemption and the importance of family, guess who gets his chance to make good?

As a comedy, there isn’t much to laugh about. Not only is the movie unfunny, it feels uneven, poorly paced and poorly written. The CGI isn’t all that realistic either.

Okay, it’s a bit humorous to see the tall Vince, trying to sleep with his long legs dangling off the top half of an elf’s bunk bed. But, an intervention scene with Wanda appearing at Santa’s house, like this revelation about his family history was nothing shocking or to be questioned is never addressed. Totally out of sync, the entire sequence falls flat and goes nowhere. I have no problem with suspending belief in a fairytale atmosphere. But the round the world, gift giving sleigh ride, comes off so far fetched as to be unconvincing, even for Santa believers. I would like to know what drew Oscar winners Kathy Bates, Kevin Spacey, Rachel Weisz, and Oscar nominees Paul Giammati and Miranda Richardson (as Mrs. Clause) to this script. Are they that hard up for cash? What a waste of talent!

The movie isn’t a total bomb. I have to say there is one very funny and clever scene at a Siblings Anonymous support group with Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton and Stephen Baldwin playing themselves and poking fun at living in the shadow of their real life, more famous siblings. It was hysterical and had me laughing out loud, but wasn’t enough to save this disappointment.

Vince Vaughn needs to refocus, get back on track and pick more worthy roles. I know he can be very funny, if given the right material. Check him out in Wedding Crashers, if you haven’t seen it.

As one of the first Christmas movies to be released, I doubt if it Fred Clause will be still in theatres come the holiday. Let me save you from a making a mistake. Don’t waste your time and money for a ticket. It is not like this is a bad Christmas present you can return.