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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Fred Claus

    Santa Claus is a beloved icon of Christian culture, which is why Hollywood has always capitalized on his fame: a movie with a guaranteed audience for the holiday season.

    ‘Fred Claus’ is supposed to be an opposing point of view to the general perception of Santa and his mythology. Although Frederick promised to be a great big brother to Nicholas, Nicholas’ saintly behavior, plus their mother’s overt favoritism, became a large wedge between them. Fred resented his brother and has little communication with him unless he needs money. But as Christmas comes closer, Fred is that much more reminded of his childhood pains.

    The film is by no means a new holiday classic or one for all the family to enjoy. The problem with Vince Vaughn is that it is hard, especially for children, to appreciate his logic through all the verbal ranting tantrums.

    I imagine most of his monologues are improvisation, but he goes on too long. The scenes between the young boys are well done and anticipate a very strong animosity but the script, camera, and Vaughn did not set up and perform the right situations for which it could be expressed. Despite kicking a statue, Fred’s anger was not enough.

    The same could be said for Paul Giamatti as Santa Claus towards Fred. Where was the sad younger brother who was always shunned by his big brother?

    What the film nicely accomplished was incorporating capitalism with psychology and myth. Santa has a Naughty List because there is not enough time, resources, and elf workers to produce every child’s dream gift in his workshop. However, Santa does not consider the reasons why a child will act naughty and simply dismisses them for their actions.

    It is Fred who understands that the child’s environment has an effect on behavior and sees the injustices of good vs. evil prejudices.

    Kevin Spacey gave the film’s best performance as Clyde, a character that expresses the triangle of themes listed above, with the exact level of anger expected from Fred.

    As an efficiency expert, he has the power to observe Santa’s operations and judge whether or not of continuing. If Santa receives three strikes, there will be no more North Pole workshop and manufacturing shall move to the South Pole.

    There are many supporting roles. Santa’s wife, Annette, gives him advice on calorie intake and not being a doormat to Fred’s schemes. Mother Claus actually said, ‘Be more like your brother Nicholas.” Fred’s British girlfriend, Wanda, is not in shock when she finds out his brother is Santa. Slam, a young boy in Fred’s life that has to go to an orphanage and unfairly winds up on the Naughty List. And Willy, who is Santa’s head elf and in love with accountant, Charlene.

    The most horrible scene to watch was Fred attending a Siblings Anonymous meeting featuring Frank Stalone, Stephen Baldwin, and Roger Clinton complaining of their brothers’ superiority

    The worst quality was the soundtrack. The music supervisor chose popular and classic Christmas songs but placed them with the wrong scenes. They did not enhance the spirit of the story or characters. It actually sounded intrusive.

    One set piece that exemplifies ‘(Santa) sees you while you sleeping’hellip;knows when you’re awake’hellip;’ was the snow globe: at any time he could say a child’s name and hometown to watch them without being seen in return. All in all, Santa’s brother doesn’t deliver the laughs.

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