FRED CLAUS Saturday 26 November, 2011

What’s it like if your little brother turns out to be Santa Claus? Watch Fred Claus to get a taste.

Hands up who’s got a sibling? If you just put your hand up I hope that nobody can see you because you just stuck your hand up in response to something on a screen. Those of you who are still here and have siblings will no doubt be aware of how it feels when your sibling is doing much better things than you…(I wouldn’t know because I’m the better child…haha, sorry, sis, just kidding). It doesn’t feel great.┬áThis is the main vein of emotion being tapped in this film. Envy.

Vince Vaughn is the titular Fred Claus, elder brother of Nick Claus…Santa Claus to you and I. After a childhood of feeling unloved in the shade of his saintly younger brother, Fred Claus ends up as an under achiever with a chip on his shoulder. Things come to a head when he finds himself in trouble and turns to his brother for help. Help which he will gladly give on one condition. That Fred will come to the north pole and help with the preparations.

Essentially this is a film about repairing the rifts within your family and the redemption you can attain in doing so. Yes. Another christmas film about redemption. So is it any good?

It’s fair to say that this is nearer the top end of the table of christmas films. It’s written by the writers of Corrina Corrina, Bolt, Cars and Tangled and directed by the director of Shanghai Knights and Wedding Crashers. It’s funny at times although I feel that it’s meant to be funnier than it is. I’m not sure if there were other jokes but if there were then they fell flat.

Flaccid comedy aside this film has had a lot of money thrown at it. The north pole commune is one of the best I’ve seen. It looks like the seat of all christmas magic should look. It looks like somewhere my inner child wants to go. Lovely.

The cast is pretty special too. Rachel Weisz (doing a very poor London accent, tut tut), the gorgeous Miranda Richardson, Kevin Spacey, Paul Giamatti (as the stressed out santa), John Michael Higgins (the Bluth’s nearly lawyer Wayne Jarvis), Ludacris, Kathy Bates and Elizabeth Banks. ┬áThose of you who are British will also recognise a lot of the bit part players who have been drawn from British TV due to the film being made at Pinewood. They all turn in pretty high level performances with the material in their hands.

What’s good about this film then? There is one scene which has some lovely cameo appearances, I won’t ruin the surprise though. The sleigh riding is a nice touch. Paul Giamatti is great as Santa. It feels sufficiently magic for christmas too.

Where the film falls down is that it’s good but not great. There is too much in the writing that’s mediocre. The elf effect is a little disconcerting, it’s like a very expensive version of those dancing elf e-cards.

It’s worth a watch and it’s among the better films but it just misses greatness. In many ways it’s a little like the brother that the film is about.




Post to Twitter

There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *