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Fred Claus a Classic Christmas Comedy

Published November 8, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros.
Fred Claus Poster Fred Claus
I'm so glad there's another Fred movie. I've been getting Drop Dead Fred and Right Said Fred since I was in middle school, even Freddy Kreuger and Fred Flintstone still. I don't mind, but this'll be a nice chance of pace.

Fred Claus Review

Vince Vaughn's hot streak continues with this cool holiday comedy. He is the master at making outrageous comedies that actually have something to say. He can be meaningful without sacrificing laughs and provide more heart than most straightforward dramas.

It's not just the story of Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti)'s crazy party animal brother coming to the North Pole. It's a family drama about sibling rivalry. It's also got a message about children's greed asking for too many specific presents.

The film can play these real adult issues, and then be ridiculous with elf ninjas and a family intervention. There are still great party animal scenes. There's plenty of slapstick in action sequences that beat up on Vaughn beautifully.

Fred Claus manages to be silly and magical all at the same time. The elf perspective effects are impeccable, and everyone treats the heightened world like it's utterly normal. Helping the head elf with ladies is sweet, just like nay romantic comedy would have a scene where the cool guy helps the shy guy. Setting it in Christmasland makes it special.

The actors commit full intensity to their characters. Kevin Spacey is as villainous as Keyser Soze was and Giamatti is his frazzled quirky self. The ladies get to be funny with love interests who provide foils to the comedians.

Vince Vaughn is in top form. He rants to children just like he rants to all his adult costars. He speaks to mature themes but it's all safe for the audience. His skeptical analysis of Claus is pure Vince Vaughn for kids and nothing phases him in the magical world. He plays it all straight.

It's good for films to have both. It lets kids explore real issues. They'll relate to siblings and maybe learn to stop demanding material things like those My Super Sweet 16 monsters. Neither tone contradicts the other. Fred Claus is a classic Christmas comedy in the tradition of The Santa Clause and Elf.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros.

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