Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmarathon Day 17: Fred Claus

Two Vince Vaughn Christmas movies in the same week. After the disaster that was Four Christmases, I really, really didn't want to watch this one. Vince Vaughn has really overstayed his welcome, and he keeps phoning in the same performance in every movie he's been in over the past decade or so. And then we have the whole conceit of the film -- that Vince Vaughn is the deadbeat brother of Santa Claus -- which is just ridiculous.

But you won't believe me when I say this, but Fred Claus was actually a pretty good movie. I liked it. It was funny and cute and charming. I enjoyed it.

It's not going to go down in history as any kind of Christmas classic or anything, but as Christmas comedies go, it was fairly successful. It had a god Christmas story about a jerk who learns the error of his ways and finds the true meaning of Christmas. And it had a lot of good jokes that worked. Sure, Vince Vaughn phoned it in again by playing the same character he always does, but that character actually worked for this movie, since he was supposed to be an annoying jerk. But the real star of the film is Paul Giamatti, whose performance as Santa Claus was pretty phenomenal. It was one of those performances where, when he was on screen, the film was great and I was always laughing, and then when he went away, I couldn't wait for him to come back. He was just so charming and lovable and down to Earth. It was a good portrayal of Santa Claus, making him seem like a real person, but also some what saintly and loving. Giamatti should've gotten an Oscar for this movie.

There are some other good actors in there as well, including Kevin Spacey as a the corporate villain who is sent in to evaluate the cost effectiveness of keeping Santa and his Elves in business. Elizabeth Banks and Rachel Weisz are both as charming and beautiful as ever. And then there's Ludacris and John Michael Higgins as elves, where there faces are super-imposed over bodies played by little people. It's a bit jarring at first, but it was actually pretty funny. John Michael Higgins is never not funny, even when it's just his face on a midget's body. Or maybe especially when his face is on a midget's body. There's also a truly inspired scene where Fred Claus goes to a support group for men with more famous brothers, including Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton, and Stephen Baldwin.

So, yeah. Fred Claus. Don't go pay money to see it or anything, but if the opportunity ever presents itself, don't run away screaming either. It's a pretty good Christmas movie that will make you laugh. Anyway, it made me laugh.

1 comment:

television lady said...

this sounds like something i would enjoy. FRANK STALLONE? apparently he'll be making an appearance in my shit fest in Pink Chiquitas. I didn't even know he was in anything, at all!

i may have to watch this for a breather.