‘Fred Claus’ is a fantasy comedy-adventure film about the older Brother of Santa Claus Fred, (Vince Vaughn), naturally, as someone who grew up in the shadow of an older sibling could tell you this lead to Fred having a strained relationship with his brother as well as the season he represents. Then one day after a series of bad events for Fred, he is forced to go to the North Pole to see his brother; and in a twist, no one could see coming save Christmas.
Now I want to get this out of the way here; this film does feature Kevin Spacey, he is not featured prominently, but he does appear mainly to act as a villain of sorts. His involvement does tarnish the enjoyability of this film; it has to be said.
That said on to more happy topics, the performances of Fred and Nicholas AKA Santa Claus, (Paul Giamatti), are both very good. Giamatti’s Nicholas gives off the sense that he wants to make everyone in the world happy but, he doesn’t realise when this want actually makes other people unhappy, this social blindness in a sense, really helps to humanise Santa Claus, who is by most accounts an all-round perfect being.
What’s More, Fred comes across as an annoying dick but, he is supposed to be, and as the film goes on and, you get to see more and more inside this head; you realise that he is a deeply sad individual, he is someone who has realised very early on that they are never going to measure up and, because of this has stopped trying to. The more we see Fred grow as a person, the more we as an audience care about him.
Another feather in this film’s cap is how well it captures and, depicts the relationship between brothers. They fight, they even hate each other at times, but deep down no matter what they love each other and, are always going to be there for one another. This is reflected extremely well at the moment when the two brothers make up and, Fred takes up the mantle of Santa Claus for the night and, the brothers share a scene, the emotion is spot on.
My one big issue with ‘Fred Claus’ other than the one mentioned before is that it wastes it supporting cast, said cast has talented actors like Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks and, Kathy Bates amongst its ranks but, it gives them precious little to do other than drive a few subplots; which to me feels like a waste.
Overall all this film has heart, it captures the familial feeling between brothers very well and, what is more, important than family on Christmas? The wasted cast let this film down a ways but, it is still worth a watch.
Reviewed by Luke