3/5* Shivs Show | Siobhan Divers
Dir: David Dobkin
Dir: David Dobkin
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates, Kevin Spacey.
Funny with some great ideas, Fred Claus is relatable, relevant and heartwarming with some endearing messages.
Fred Claus is ultimately a tale of sibling rivalry – as the older brother of Nicolas Claus (Paul Giamatti), Fred (Vince Vaughn) lives in his younger brother’s shadow.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, when Nicolas is older, he’s made a saint, becoming Santa Claus, and alongwith this, becomes immortal as does his family.
Fastforward to present day, Fred works as a repossession agent with an under-appreciated girlfriend, Wanda (Rachel Weisz). He doesnt keep in contat with his brother until he gets into a fight with countless guys dressed as Santa Claus. Ending up in jail, he calls his brother to post his bail and send him money to which St Nick agrees to – on the condition that Fred visits the North Pole and works there for a while.
At the North Pole, Santa faces potential termination at the mercy of Clyde Northcutt (Kevin Spacey) who’s tasked with cutting costs – three strikes and Santa is out (and he gets two strikes preeeetty quickly…)
There’s a few laughs in there – there’s some comical violence (in the form of ninja elves) and there’s a good chase scene (as Chicago Santa’s chase Fred through a department store).
It’s also sweet and original with a great ensemble cast.
There’s some good unique ideas in the film too – the idea of Santa having an older brother is loosly based on the poem “A Legend of Santa and his Brother Fred” written by Donald Henkel and is an interesting concept to say the least.
Another cool concept in the film is a “Siblings Anonymous” group therapy session where people with famous siblings can vent their family issues. This is just glanced over however as a quick joke but would be interesting, had it been utilised more within the film.
A charming, well acted and entirely watchable flick, Fred Claus may not be an instant classic but it’s amusing and festive and isn’t that all we’re looking for in our December movie viewings?