Fred Claus (2007)

fred claus poster 2007 movie vince vaughn
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Great actors

Dull story, actors underused

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Fred Claus

Studio: Warner Bros./Silver Pictures/David Dobkin Productions

Genre(s):   Comedy/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): November 3, 2007 (Premiere)/November 9, 2007 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


Santa Claus…I hate you

Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) has always lived in the shadow of his younger brother Nicholas…aka Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti). His parents (Kathy Bates and Trevor Peacock) always compare him to his brother, and in the process, Fred has grown to loath the Christmas season. As a result Fred always seems to let the people around him down be it Nicholas, his girlfriend Wanda Blinkowski (Rachel Weisz), or a young orphaned boy named Sam (Bobb’e J. Thompson) in his neighborhood. Now Fred needs money and is forced to turn to Santa, and this means a trip to the North Pole. Fred’s been assigned to work on the Naughty or Nice list, but Santa has a problem when an efficiency expert named Clyde Northcutt (Kevin Spacey) is threatening to shut Santa’s operation down.

Directed by David Dobkin, Fred Claus was released to negative reviews. Despite the tepid response, the movie did fairly well at the box office and can be seen around the holiday season with other modern holiday movies like Elf.


Hey guys…I’m not plotting or anything

While Elf managed to find a good balance in the movie between sentimental and funny, Fred Claus struggles. The movie doesn’t have a very good balance between slapstick humor and the story of two brothers divided by their differences. The movie just isn’t very funny or very touching.

What Fred Claus does excel in is a good cast that is full of Oscar winners and nominees. I’m not a Vince Vaughn fan, but he is popular with many so his brand of humor seems to be on the level of his other films. I love Paul Giamatti, but a good actor feels out of place here. Kevin Spacey seems to relish in his evilness and does his best with the goofy role. Another Oscar winner in Rachel Weisz is really underused as Vaughn’s girlfriend who never develops, and Kathy Bates only appears a couple of times along with Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. There are also smaller roles by Miranda Richardson (as Mrs. Claus…Nick’s wife), Ludacris (as DJ Donnie), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. A better scene has the brother of other famous people Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton, Jr., and Stephen Baldwin at an intervention group.


Let’s get down in a horrible dance scene!!!

Fred Claus just doesn’t have much fun with the idea of Santa Claus’ brother. The addition of Kevin Spacey’s storyline or of the kid Sam seems unnecessary. Scenes like the both intervention scenes have potential, but weak writing and scenes like the dance scene negate any real creativity. The movie just doesn’t seem like something that kids or adults would enjoy.

I can’t recommend Fred Claus when there are tons of better comedies out there that can be enjoyed by everyone. Put in A Christmas Story or Elf before grabbing this movie or just watch one of the countless good Christmas specials out there. Fred saves Santa but fails on all accounts.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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