Awfully Good: Fred Claus

Grab some spiked eggnog and get in the spirit of the season with the rest of our Awfully Good holiday movies:

Santa Paws: St. Nick's dog scars children.
Puppetmaster vs. Demonic Toys: Corey Feldman vs. Farting Christmas Baby.
Ernest Saves Christmas: Jim Varney plays with Santa's sack.
Deck The Halls: Danny DeVito naked and incest jokes.
Christmas Evil: Mommy does more than kiss Santa Claus.
Santa Clause 3: Martin Short terrifies children.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians: Santa battles cheap production values.
Jack Frost (1998): Michael Keaton is a dead snowman.
Jack Frost (1996): Frosty rapes Shannon Elizabeth.
Jingle All The Way: Arnold punches reindeer for toys.
Santa's Slay: St. Nick murders Fran Drescher.

Fred Claus (2007)

Director: David Dobkin
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Rachel Weisz

Is there a plot?

Santa's older brother is a dick.

What's the damage?

FRED CLAUS may be the most hate-filled, loathsome and deplorable holiday movie since JINGLE ALL THE WAY. Even last week's flick, which saw a little girl crawl in to an incinerator, doesn't hate Christmas as much as this film. Sure, there's the sugar coated ending where everybody learns the meaning of the season (sorta), but make no mistake, FRED CLAUS is one of the biggest Christmas disasters of all time.

"Hey Mr. Vaughn, from here it looks like you're an elf too!"

Let's talk about the main character. Vince Vaughn's Fred Claus is a bitter loser who hates the fact that his brother Nicholas is literally a saint and something of an attention whore. At the beginning of the movie we see him working as a repo man, taking away a TV from a little girl. (Get it? He's the opposite of Santa Claus!) Not only is it bad enough that she's losing her things and her family will probably be homeless soon, Vaughn also needs to go on a lengthy diatribe to convince her that she will grow up to be a fat, pregnant teenage loser with no future. (Best Lines below, natch.) And this is just the start.

And with that, this movie can technically be called a hate crime.

Sure, Kevin Spacey's character is the villain, but Fred Claus is truly the film's bad guy. Before he even gets to the North Pole, we see him convince a kid there's no Santa, steal money from charity, beat up a gang of Salvation Army Santas inside a toy store, and horribly mistreat his girlfriend, inexplicably played by Rachel Weisz. Even the things that are supposed to show us he's a good guy at heart are awful, like the fact that he creepily hangs out alone with a young orphan boy (the foul mouthed kid from ROLE MODELS) for no logical reason. By the midway point, the film takes a dark turn as we see the orphan beating up other parentless kids on the advice of Fred, Christmas being shut down thanks to Fred's lazy and selfish ineptitude, and a serious breakdown with the whole Claus family, which results in Paul Giamatti's Santa fighting Fred in the street and trying to run him over with a snowmobile. Fred even tells his brother: "I don't hate you, I just wish you were never born," which is the sibling equivalent of "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed."

Lex Luthor was only after Superman for his cape. Hey, it's less stupid than Lex Luthor using Superman to make land.

FRED CLAUS is a Christmas movie for the family (at least intended to be), so of course in the end Fred learns his lesson and saves the day. But the 180 here is hilarious, not just because of how sudden it is, but because of what causes it. However, to get to that we need to discuss the one semi-worthwhile part of the movie: the Siblings Anonymous meeting with cameos by famous overshadowed brothers Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton and Stephen Baldwin. After three decades of resentment and anger issues, it's Bill Clinton's druggie brother and the Baldwin who starred in SHARKS IN VENICE who inspire Fred to live up to his last name and love Christmas.

As a gift to Kevin, Vince was going to bring him Gwyneth's head in the box and nobody was going to stop him.

Those guest appearances still pale in comparison to the Oscar-caliber cast they actually got to star in this movie. Take a look:

  • Paul Giamatti as an impotent Santa Claus with an eating disorder
  • Miranda Richardson as the bitchiest Mrs. Claus ever seen on film
  • Rachel Weisz as the worlds sexiest meter maid and poor Cockney girlfriend to Fred Claus
  • Kevin Spacey as an evil efficiency expert sent by the "Managing Board" to shut down Christmas. (Who exactly is on this board?) He comes around in the end after Santa gives him the Superman cape he always wanted, making for a more interesting story than all of SUPERMAN RETURNS.
  • Elizabeth Banks is smoking hot as Santa's Little Helper, who for some reason is a normal-sized human and wears skimpy outfits despite the arctic temperatures. She exists for no other reason from a story point of view.
  • Kathy Bates as Santa Claus' hellacious mother
  • John Michael Higgins as one of many elves with CGI heads, who's in love with Elizabeth Banks, promoting some weird interspecies love that requires the use of a step ladder
  • Rapper Ludacris as elf DJ Donnie
  • Rapper Ludacris as elf DJ Donnie (This bears repeating.)


Thank you Santa, I've been a good boy this year.

Director David Dobkin followed up the massive success of WEDDING CRASHES with this tinsel-covered turd that features kung fu elves and a truly stupid and lazy script. (Because Santa is a saint, his whole family becomes ageless. So what happens to Rachel Weisz after the movie ends?) I don't even know who this film is for—it's probably too messed up for little kids and too stupid for adults. Case in point: the ultimate moral of FRED CLAUS. The final lesson, blatantly stated by the title character himself at the end, is that even naughty kids should get presents because every child deserves to open something on Christmas morning and they're probably just misunderstood. Yes, and FRED CLAUS is just "misunderstood" too.

Bottom Bunk: The audience, freshly molested
Top Bunk: Fred Claus


"Best" Line

Vince Vaughn ruins dinner then ruins a little girl's entire life.

"Best" Parts

1) A few of the best scenes featuring the movie's bizarre portrayal of Santa's helpers, including Ludacris' CGI head and kung fu elves.

2) Nothing says Christmas like fighting! Here we see Vince Vaughn beating up a group of charity Santas in a toy store and the real Claus himself getting naughty and trying to run over his brother with a snowmobile.

Nudity Watch

Elizabeth Banks shows some cleav as the hottest elf since Judy from THE SANTA CLAUSE. (What?! She told Tim Allen she was old…)


Help Frank Stallone eat this holiday season! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Vince Vaughn dances
  • Vince Vaughn talks about getting "jacked up"
  • You can spot a CGI elf head
  • Someone brings up Santa's weight

Double shot if:

  • Lex Luthor gets Superman's cape
  • Bird is the word


Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: Digital Dorm
Tags: awfully good



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