Fred Claus
Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Kathy Bates, Kevin Spacey
Directed by David Dobkin
Warner Home Video 2008
116 minutes

So you’re going “What does Vince Vaughn have to do with Christmas?”, and so the cover of the Fred Claus DVD confuses you. In the last few years, we’ve associated Vaughn with roles of a cool player who crashes weddings, or someone who kills people for a living alongside Bradgelina yet still lives at his mom’s place, or the guy involved with a breakup (or is it hookup) with Jennifer Aniston. Well, Vince Vaughn is the guy you want if you’re going to show someone who doesn’t seem totally honest, but who can turn out OK in the end, which is why I think he pulls off Fred Claus quite well.

Who is Fred Claus? Well, as we can see from the movie’s “once upon a time” bedtime story type of a beginning, he is simply the big brother of the one who will eventually become Saint Nicholas, or as most of us know him, Santa Claus (wonderfully interpreted by Paul Giamatti). At first, he promises his younger brother that he will be the best big brother ever. Then, as Santa Claus becomes the beloved character we love to associate with Christmas, Fred loses the attention of his parents, he starts to despise his brother and the holiday that we all associate with him. At the beginning of the movie, we see him working (a few hundred years later) in modern Chicago where he’s in the RE-PO business, repossessing property from the previous Christmas from people who weren’t able to afford it. He later gets in trouble with the law and that’s how he ends up soliciting the help of his brother.

I can already hear some people thinking in the back of their heads that this can’t be right; there can’t be any entertainment coming from this. Well, if you’re not into the Christmas spirit, maybe this movie isn’t for you and that’s that. However, for all you others out there who understand that Christmas is all about celebrating family (in good and bad times), and want to see how this sibling rivalry between Santa and Fred will resolve itself, get in on the sleigh ride; it’s a fun one!

The cast of Actors in Fred Claus is enough to give credibility to this movie. Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Kathy Bates, Kevin Spacey, Miranda Richardson, just to name a few,  help make this family Christmas DVD  a nice moment to share with the family during the holidays. It also makes a nice Christmas stocking stuffer, as the family might enjoy watching it more than once.

If you’re looking to catch the Christmas spirit before December 25 rolls in, you’ll probably want to catch this one. The movie gets emotional, funny, even absurd at times, but it’ll make you want to reconnect with family and it should put you in the holiday spirit for the coming Christmas season. Have a merry Fred Claus!


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