During childhood, Fred Claus suffered his younger brother Nick's saintliness. Jump ahead: Fred is a fast-talking, genial but self-centered guy in Chicago looking for $50,000 to open an off-track-betting shop. When one scam goes awry, he calls Nick at the North Pole for a loan: Nick will give him the money only if Fred comes up to help a few days with the Christmas rush. After his girlfriend dumps him, Fred heads north. Santa's facing an audit from an efficiency expert, and it's not pleasant. Fred's job is to review charts and determine who's naughty and who's nice. Is there any fraternal feeling left, can either learn from the other, and what about Santa getting fired? Written by
My wife and I took our niece to the theater for this and it was a good time. Vince Vaughn plays the lead role of Fred, the grouchy and disgruntled brother of the real Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti). When things get tough one year up at the North Pole where Santa lives, he sends for his estranged brother to visit him and help out. It seems a nasty efficiency man (Kevin Spacey) is about to shut Santa's massive toy making operation down permanently if certain standards are not maintained, and this low-life is doing everything he can to make sure things never straighten out.
I usually don't like Kevin Spacey, but he was perfect for this part and I enjoyed the whole cast too, in fact. It's getting to the point where I'd go to see any movie with Paul Giamatti in it, and though you'd think he's not physically right for the role of Santa Claus, he makes it work. I found this funny and festive, with something to say about what hurt feelings and mistreatment can do to turn good people bad (ie; make nice people "naughty"). I especially got a kick out of a scene featuring a "Syblings Anonymous" type of meeting for disgruntled brothers, where some famous faces made cameos. There's good music featured throughout as well, and not all of it necessarily being Christmas tunes. *** out of ****
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