My wife and I are way behind on watching a bevy of Christmas movies compared to normal years thanks to moving and the lack of quality holiday movies available. My library DVDs is already packed up, so we have been reliant upon Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO … which in my opinion dropped the ball! I mean I won’t even get to see my holiday favorite (Die Hard) this year. Either way, we were scrolling through HBO to see if there was anything we missed (or anything worth watching at all) and came across Fred Claus. I remember not hating it when I saw it during the initial theatrical release, so we gave it a go. How did it hold up?
I would give it 1 “Siblings Anonymous meetings” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
This is the story of Fred Claus, the overlooked older brother of Nicholas Claus. While Nicholas was the obvious favorite thanks to his generosity and kind spirit; Fred grew angry and resentful. Fast forward to current day and Fred is running a repossession business but needs money to open a gambling operation of some sort. He works out a deal with his brother to get the money needed as long as he comes and helps out at the North Pole. Hijinks ensue thanks to an efficiency expert sent to evaluate all mythical holiday figures.
Directed by: David Dobkin
Written by: Dan Fogelman and Jessie Nelson
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, Kathy Bates, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Spacey, and John Michael Higgins
This is definitely a Vince Vaughn vehicle, so take that for what its worth. This was at the top of his bell curve (after The Break-Up, Wedding Crashers, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Anchorman, Dodgeball, and Starsky and Hutch). If you like fast talking Vince Vaughn then you will like his portions of the movie.
I don’t know what the worst part of this movie was, so I will list a few. The number of talented actors who were wasted was astonishing: Paul Giamatti, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates, and Kevin Spacey. Which I forgot Spacey was in this and was conflicted due to his current political climate, this role didn’t help redeem him at all. The CGI used to shrink normal actors down to elf size was beyond horrible. The plot was based on Santa having cash (even though he does nothing that would get him money) and an efficiency expert who plans to outsource all holidays? For a Christmas movie, they missed the mark on a feel good movie by the widest margin possible.
This was a movie that did not age well at all. I wanted to cut it off and stop watching it before the halfway point, but my wife wanted to finish it. I cannot in good faith recommend you watch this.
If you want a Christmas movie that gets you into the spirit of things and includes outcasts then look no further than the 1964 classic: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Almost everyone should have grown up watching this or seen it at some point, if not you should know the core story. Rudolph is a reindeer, with a shiny red nose … you could even say it glowed. The other reindeer used to laugh and call him names or let him play any reindeer games. Then on a certain Christmas Eve, it was really foggy … so Santa asked Rudolph if he could guide his sleigh. Then EVERYONE loved him, you might even say he went down in history. Plus the movie includes Hermie the elf, Cornelius, and an abominable snowman.