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"FRED CLAUS"
(2007) (Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Heavy Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Moderate Moderate Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Moderate Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Santa's Christmas-hating older brother agrees to work at the North Pole for money he needs to start his own business.
PLOT:
Ever since they were kids long, long ago, Fred Claus (VINCE VAUGHN) has always been jealous of his younger brother, Nick (PAUL GIAMATTI), mainly because of the attention their mother, (KATHY BATES), paid to Nick. That was cemented forever when his little brother became Saint Nick, a.k.a. Santa Claus, and thus froze them at their current ages for all eternity.

Now in the present day, Fred is a bitter repo man who only cares about himself, thus meaning he doesn't treat his meter maid girlfriend, Wanda (RACHEL WEISZ), the way he should, even going so far as forgetting her birthday. While he does spend some time with a neighbor kid, Slam (BOBB'E J. THOMPSON), he's most interested in opening an off-track betting parlor.

However, he doesn't have the money to secure the spot, and thus calls on his brother for a loan. As it's near Christmas, Nick is quite busy, and his wife, Annette (MIRANDA RICHARDSON), wants Santa to practice some "tough love" with his brother and not give him the money. Having a heart of gold, though, Nick can't turn down his big brother, but does so with the caveat that Fred must travel to the North Pole and work for the money. Accordingly, head elf Willie (JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS) picks up Fred and delivers him to the toy factory at the top of the world.

There, he meets the likes of Santa's little helper, the cleavage-sporting Charlene (ELIZABETH BANKS), as well as DJ Donnie (CHRIS "LUDACRIS BRIDGES) who spins the same tune over and over again for the factory workers. Then there's Clyde Northcutt (KEVIN SPACEY), an efficiency expert from a company that oversees all holiday operations, and he seems intent on finding anything that might justify him shutting down Nick and his North Pole operation.

As Fred works in the naughty and nice kid sorting office, he disrupts the normal routine to such a degree that he ends up unknowingly helping Clyde's cause. With the big day quickly approaching, he must then decide what to do and whether to help his brother save Christmas.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The Christmas and Santa angle will probably draw in some, while Vince Vaughn fans might be enticed as well.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For mild language and some rude humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • VINCE VAUGHN plays a very old, but middle-aged looking man who does repo work and wants to open an off-track betting parlor, but doesn't have the cash to do so. Accordingly, and despite suffering from sibling rivalry, he asks for a loan from his younger, more successful, and far more famous brother, who just so happens to be Santa Claus. Self-centered, he neglects his girlfriend, but eventually comes around in most every aspect of his life, once he learns his lesson.
  • PAUL GIAMATTI plays his big-hearted brother, Santa Claus, who agrees to loan Fred the money, but only under the condition that he work at the North Pole. While dealing with that and the pressures of getting all of the gifts ready for Christmas, he must also contend with Clyde and that man's nefarious plans.
  • KEVIN SPACEY plays an efficiency expert who's determined to find anything that will justify him shutting down Nick's North Pole operation, including his own use of sabotage.
  • JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS plays the head elf who likes Charlene must doesn't have enough confidence to let her know. He also assists Fred in delivering the world's Christmas gifts.
  • MIRANDA RICHARDSON plays Nick's wife who doesn't like Fred and doesn't want her husband loaning him money.
  • RACHEL WEISZ plays Fred's meter maid girlfriend who tires of his inattentiveness toward her.
  • KATHY BATES plays the boys' mother who obviously favors Nick over Fred.
  • CHRIS "LUDACRIS BRIDGES plays the North Pole deejay who spins just one tune and isn't happy when Fred tries to change that.
  • ELIZABETH BANKS plays Santa's grown-up "little helper" who sports cleavage and thus draws Willie's attention.
  • BOBB'E J. THOMPSON plays a young neighbor boy who lives near Fred and has been hiding the fact that he's an orphan. He briefly turns into a disruptive kid.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated comedy. Profanity consists of a handful of expletives, while various colorful phrases are also present. That also holds true for non-explicit, but sexually related comments and innuendo, while a song repeats the phrase "make love" several times in its lyrics. A woman shows a fair amount of cleavage in several scenes, while some sumo wrestler types are seen in slightly modified, traditional garb that covers a bit more of their butts than usual.

    Comedy based fighting and striking of others is present (nothing graphic or too severe), as is some slapstick style material. That and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, some of that stemming from the tense family material.

    Some alcohol is present, as is brief crude humor, while some younger kids might be concerned about efforts to shut down Santa, his North Pole operation, and thus Christmas.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some camera movement in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • In a tavern (after we see three elves helping each other walk out, as if possibly intoxicated), we see bottles on the back wall that might be liquor, but the only thing that's consumed is eggnog (with Willie telling the bartender to give Fred a double).
  • Nick's family has wine or champagne with dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • About his wild sled flight to the North Pole, Willie says that at least Fred didn't throw up.
  • We see Fred and Willie standing at urinals and hear them urinating.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • When Fred and Nick are kids, their mom asks Fred why he can't be more like his brother, as she obviously favors Nick over him.
  • Jealous of his brother, Fred throws an apple that hits Nick in the back of the head.
  • Due to that jealousy, Fred hates everything about Christmas.
  • Fred asks a young white girl if she has any ethnicity in her background, saying she could use that for college grants and such. He then tells her she'll meet a guy, get pregnant, and then have a baby before graduating from college. He then tells her father that next time he'll take his wife (he's repossessing some of their goods).
  • Wanda reminds Fred that he forgot her birthday.
  • Fred tells Slam not to believe in or count on Santa, saying the latter is a "fame jockey."
  • Fred fakes being a representative of a holiday charity, and thus collects donations on the sidewalk (and without a permit).
  • While in jail, Fred calls Nick and not only asks for bail money, but also $50,000 for his business.
  • We see Santa surveillance footage of a boy being naughty by taking a plastic baseball bat and smashing his sister's things, including a lamp.
  • Using Santa's observation snow globe, Fred sees Wanda tell a stranger that she doesn't have a boyfriend (when asked by the man who's coming on to her).
  • Fred isn't happy to see his parents over for dinner at Nick's place. When his mom asks Fred if he remembers what he wrote on an anniversary card (that Nick secretly delivered for him), Fred says, "I hope you choke on your dinner." He then gets up and leaves.
  • We see Clyde shedding letters to Santa from kids requesting gifts (he does this to make it look like Fred lost them, and thus be another strike against Santa's operation).
  • Rather than follow the rules, Fred decides to give all kids the "good" stamp, rather than sorting out the "naughty" ones.
  • During a fight, Fred makes various disparaging remarks about Nick's weight, and the comment "You throw like a girl" is also used.
  • Fred says he doesn't hate Nick, but just wishes he (Nick) had never been born.
  • To try to prevent Fred from delivering all of the gifts worldwide, Clyde shuts down the power to the North Pole, thus meaning Fred and Willie are on their own in terms of navigation.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some kids may worry that Fred won't be able to deliver all of the gifts around the world before sunrise (with the caveat being that if he fails, the North Pole operation will be shut down permanently).
  • To try to prevent Fred from delivering all of the gifts worldwide, Clyde (whose overall demeanor might be unsettling for younger kids) shuts down the power to the North Pole, thus meaning Fred and Willie are on their own in terms of navigation.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "(What) Are you nuts?" "My bad," "Fame jockey," "Don't drink the Kool-Aid," "No futzing from you," "Clown," "Dinosaur," "Shut up," "Get lost," "That was nuts," "What the heck /is happening here/are you doing?" "Smurfy, very smurfy," "Can I get a ho-ho?" "You scrooge, you lose," "Are you kidding me?" "What up, Fred?" "You're acting like an untrained dog," "Do it, dude," "She thinks I'm a freak," "I looked like a total idiot out there," "Come off it," "Let's get jacked up," "I feel like Patty Hearst," "For Pete's sake," "Get lost, guy," "Hate the crap out of the little one," "What the hell was that?" "Fools," "What the blazes have you done?" "Right down the crapper," "(C'mon) Fat boy," "Punk," "You can shove it, thunder-thighs," "You throw like a girl," "Munchkins," "Wherever the hell you're from" and "Four-eyed Clyde" (about a kid with glasses).
  • Slam jumps over Fred's sofa to land on the seat.
  • Fred fakes being a representative of a holiday charity, and thus collects donations on the sidewalk (and without a permit).
  • We see Santa surveillance footage of a boy being naughty by taking a plastic baseball bat and smashing his sister's things, including a lamp.
  • Fred dances around with the elves and then tosses one into the crowd, and then leaps out into the crowd, with the other elves catching both.
  • Some exaggerated winking done by Nick and Fred might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The sudden sound of a helicopter might startle some viewers (heard first in the surround channel speakers).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and some adventure-based music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • The song "Beast of Burden" includes several uses of "make love to me" and other lyrics that some could construe as innuendo.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 craps, 2 hells, 1 ass (said after Slam doesn't under the word "assets"), 1 damn, and 1 use each of "God" and "Good Lord."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Fred tells a young girl she'll meet a guy, get pregnant, and then have a baby before graduating from college. He then tells her father that next time he'll take his wife (he's repossessing some of their goods).
  • We see sumo type wrestlers in an Asian themed performance restaurant (they're smaller than normal, and the standard garb isn't quite as revealing as usual, but one's butt ends up slammed against a cell bar, close to Wanda).
  • Charlene shows a fair amount of cleavage in the same outfit seen in various scenes.
  • After talk of the naughty and nice list, Fred drops a line about hoping a female swimming team is naughty.
  • When Fred tries to get DJ Donnie to play a different song, the elf protests and starts whacking Fred on the leg. When the elf grabs Fred around that leg, Fred complains that he's like an untrained dog.
  • The song "Beast of Burden" includes several uses of "make love to me" and other lyrics that some could construe as innuendo.
  • Fred gives Willie a dance lesson for Charlene, telling him what to do. That includes putting a hand on the back, but due to their height differences, Willie ends up putting his hand on Fred's clothed butt. Fred then says that's a little naughty and he likes where he's going with that move, but then puts Willie's hand up onto his back. Willie then goes off on his own, and slaps his clothed butt once with each hand.
  • Nick's wife is concerned about his over-eating and health, saying it affects other parts of their marriage. Fred then jokingly asks if Nick can't get his "sleigh" off the ground (an impotence reference).
  • Willie plants a kiss on Charlene.
  • Wanda kisses Fred, and he jokes that they don't want to go to bed arguing, now that they're living together.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • When Fred and Nick are kids, their mom asks Fred why he can't be more like his brother, as she obviously favors Nick over him.
  • Jealous of his brother, Fred throws an apple that hits Nick in the back of the head.
  • We hear that Slam's father died around a year ago, and the boy is then taken off to an orphanage.
  • Fred isn't happy to see his parents over for dinner at Nick's place. When his mom asks Fred if he remembers what he wrote on an anniversary card (that Nick secretly delivered for him), Fred says, "I hope you choke on your dinner." He then gets up and leaves.
  • Fred and Nick get into an argument that eventually escalates into a snowball fight that then transitions into more direct physical contact between the two. Thus, snowball impact (including one knocking down Nick) is followed by Nick trying to run down Fred on a snowmobile. During the approach, Fred grabs a shovel and tries to hit Nick, but ends up with the shovel around Nick, which is when Nick bites Fred on the hand. The snowmobile ends up crashing and both fall off, with Nick hurting his back.
  • Fred says he doesn't hate Nick, but just wishes he (Nick) had never been born.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Sibling rivalry.
  • The meaning of Christmas.
  • How past childhood events can shape one's current behavior.
  • The comment that Fred's unhappiness -- stemming from being compared unfavorably to his brother -- led to anger and naughtiness.
  • We hear that Slam's father died around a year ago, and the boy is then taken off to an orphanage.
  • Clyde's statement that today's kids ask for far more gifts than their predecessors.
  • Clyde states that "the board" is considering shutting down and then outsourcing Santa's operation.
  • Fred states that there are no naughty kids, only scared ones, and others that don't get listened to.
  • VIOLENCE
  • All of the following is played for intended laughs.
  • While Fred is up in a tree with his little bird friend, the tree suddenly falls hard to the ground, smashing the birdhouse (the bird is okay and flies away). We then see that it was Nick who cut down the tree, but only so that Fred could have it.
  • Jealous of his brother, Fred throws an apple that hits Nick in the back of the head.
  • A girl kicks Fred in the leg (for repossessing her TV).
  • Fred knocks the head off a mechanical Santa.
  • Various Santas chase after Fred after realizing he's operating for donations without a license. They end up in a toy store where he throws Frisbees at some, and then deflects a plastic bat with a small collapsible floor sign. He then hits some of them with that, and kicks one back, but they eventually tackle and then pile onto him on the floor.
  • Three security elves try to apprehend Fred, with two throwing the third onto and around Fred's neck (grabbing his face). Another kicks him down to the snowy ground, and all three pin him there, bending his arms behind him.
  • We see Santa surveillance footage of a boy being naughty by taking a plastic baseball bat and smashing his sister's things, including a lamp.
  • When Fred tries to get DJ Donnie to play a different song, the elf protests and starts whacking Fred on the leg. Fred then shoves the elf into a cabinet and locks the door on him.
  • While dancing, Willie ends up falling and crashing through a wooden chair.
  • The three elf security guards try to apprehend Fred, with two throwing one toward Fred, but he ducks and the elf goes out the window. Moments later and after various sounds of scuffling and such, we see Fred trying to escape while taped up, but the rope attached to him pulls him back into the room.
  • In an orphanage, a boy pushes Slam who punches that kid in the gut, followed by tussling between them and others.
  • Fred and Nick get into an argument that eventually escalates into a snowball fight that then transitions into more direct physical contact between the two. Thus, snowball impact (including one knocking down Nick) is followed by Nick trying to run down Fred on a snowmobile. During the approach, Fred grabs a shovel and tries to hit Nick, but ends up with the shovel around Nick, which is when Nick bites Fred on the hand. The snowmobile ends up crashing and both fall off, with Nick hurting his back.
  • As Fred drives Santa's sleigh on a high-speed mission to deliver all of the gifts worldwide before sunrise, he clips or runs into various things, including the top of an SUV (that's crushed), some power lines that are knocked down, and a billboard through which he blasts a hole.



  • Reviewed October 23, 2007 / Posted November 9, 2007

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