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Fred Claus is a 2007 Christmas comedy-drama film produced and directed by David Dobkin and starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti.

Plot

The movie begins long ago in Middle Age Europe with a woman giving birth to a baby. As the baby is born, the midwife comments on how its the biggest baby she's ever seen. Within a few minutes of his birth, the baby starts saying "Ho, ho, ho!". The woman, Mother Claus calls her other son, Fred, over to meet his new brother, who she has decided to name Nick. Mother Claus lovingly refers to the new baby as her little Saint Nick, while Fred promises to be the best big brother ever.

The next few scenes show Nick and Fred growing up, particularly during the development of some Christmas traditions. First, during Nick's birthday, Fred makes a special journal with Nick's name on it as a present. After opening all of his gifts, Nick places them in a box and tells his family he is going to take them to the homeless boy who lives around the corner, because giving gifts brings him joy. Their parents are very pleased with their son, while Fred is angry that Nick is giving away his thoughtful gift. However, as Fred gets upset, Mother Claus says that Fred should learn to be more like his brother, causing Fred to resent Nick.

Feeling his family does not understand him, Fred often climbs a large tree in the woods, and visits the only person who understands him: a bluebird living in a birdhouse in the tree. As Fred confides to the bird about his problems, the tree suddenly falls down, crushing the birdhouse and causing the bird to leave. It is then revealed that Nick cut down the tree because Fred liked the tree so much, and thought it would be a great idea to bring the tree inside and put gifts underneath for his sake. This is clearly the last straw, and causes a permanent rift between Fred and Nick.

Cutting to the present, it is explained that when Nick eventually becomes a saint due to all his good deeds, and he, his spouse, and immediate family become frozen in time, never to age. Nick has become the modern-day Santa Claus, and Fred runs a repo company, and is obviously not well liked. He then goes to see his girlfriend, Wanda, who gets mad at Fred for forgetting that her birthday was tomorrow. She also references that for their anniversary last year he had dropped hints about the Eiffel Tower and having her taking French lessons, only to give a bad gift rather than an implied trip to France. Fred promises that they'll be going to a new hotspot for her birthday although he did not check out the restaurant, only naming the restaurant he sees on a billboard as a last-minute plan.

The following day, Fred plans to buy a property to open up a gambling facility, but is required to pay $50,000 by December 22nd to secure the property. As an attempt to raise the money, Fred grabs a Santa hat and a tin container and poses as a Salvation Army charity worker. When the real Salvation Army Santas confront him, a comical chase ensues, ending with Fred's arrest. Needing $5,000 bail, Fred tries to call Wanda, who doesn't answer because she is waiting for him at her birthday dinner, which turns out to be at a disgusting restaurant where men are watching sumo fights in the middle of the room. A policeman takes pity on Fred and allows him to make one more phone call. Fred calls Nick and tries to convince him to send $55,000. Nick almost agrees, but his wife then tells him to use "tough love". As a result, Nick agrees to send $5,000 immediately to pay for the bail, but that Fred has to go to the North Pole and work for him to earn the remaining $50,000

Back at his apartment, Fred is packing up when a boy named Slam comes in, who obviously doesn't have a stable living situation. He talks about wanting a puppy for Christmas, but Fred tells him not to count on others for things. At this time, family services shows up because his home is unfit and he is moved to an orphanage.

Soon after, an elf named Willy shows up to take Fred to the North Pole. We learn that Willy is the head elf, and has a crush on Santas Little Helper Charlene, although she cant even remember his name. Once Fred and Willy arrive at the North Pole, Nick welcomes Fred warmly and shows him around, including the naughty/nice room. In this room, it shows a Top Ten List of the 10 most naughty children at any given time. There is also a humongous snow globe in the room, where you can say any persons name and see if they're being naughty or nice. Fred asks to see Wanda, and we see his girlfriend talking to a guy on the street. The man asks Wanda if she has a boyfriend, and she says no (obviously upset that he stood her up on her birthday), and they agree to have dinner in the near future. Nick shows Fred where he will be working, looking at children files and determining if they are naughty or nice.

While Fred starts working, Nick and Mrs. Claus are introduced to Clyde, an efficiency expert who has come to assess workings at the North Pole. Further, if Nick gets three strikes by Christmas, Clyde will shut them down.

Back at the workshop, Fred starts getting restless, particularly because the DJ elf keeps playing Here Come Santa Claus on a loop. Fred locks the DJ in a cupboard, puts on some dance music, and convinces the elves to vacate their stations to join in the dance party. Nick, Mrs. Claus, and Clyde walk in on this, and Clyde says that Nick's inability to control his work staff is Strike #1.

That night at dinnertime, Nick convinces Fred to come to dinner with their parents and Clyde, and it's clear that Fred hasn't spoken to his parents in years. Sitting down to dinner, Fred's mother continues to praise Nick. Fred storms out and heads to Frosty's Tavern, where he meets Willy. Willy discusses his lack of self-confidence regarding Charlene, and Fred tries to teach him to dance. Unfortunately, Charlene enters the tavern just as Willy falls on his face, and runs off embarrassed.

Later, when everyone else is asleep, Clyde sneaks in Fred's office, using a shredder to destroy many of Fred's naughty/nice records, effectively framing Fred for the infraction, and marks it as Strike #2. Later, Fred is shocked to see that Slam is now the #1 naughty kid. Slam is shown arguing with the other children in the orphanage, saying the same types of things that Fred has said to Slam earlier. Fred then concludes that children aren't truly naughty, but are simply either scared or misunderstood. Afterward, Fred furiously marks everyone as nice, rather than a mix of naughty and nice.

Nick quickly learns what Fred is doing, and confronts Fred, stating that if the elves will not be able to make enough gifts for every child if they are all marked "nice". Nick and Fred end up fighting, which ends when Nick injures his back.

Frustrated with his entire family, Fred leaves the North Pole with his $50,000 as soon as they reach December 22nd, but Nick gives him one present to take with him. Fred waits until he returns home to open the gift, which is a birdhouse and a note from Nick. Obviously confused about his feelings, Fred enters into a Siblings Anonymous meeting, where he is joined with the brothers of Alec Baldwin, Sylvester Stallone, and Bill Clinton. Eventually, Bill's brother makes a speech about how, even though he could have ruined everything for his brother who he resented, he chose to be a good brother and let him be successful.

Back at the North Pole, it looks like Christmas is lost: Nick can hardly get out of bed because of his back, and Clyde has given Nick Strike #3. However, before the deliveries should start, Fred shows up, having used his money to charter a plane, boat, and sled dogs to get back to the North Pole and help out. Without Clyde's knowledge, Fred and the elves work tirelessly to make at least one toy for each child, with no reference to if they're naughty or nice. However, Nick still can't drive the sleigh, and only a Claus can deliver the toys. So Fred decides to help deliver the toys. With Willy's help in the sleigh (and elves back at the North Pole serving as mission control), Fred starts delivering presents around the world (including giving a puppy to Slam and telling him to care about others), but has to be back to the North Pole before sunrise, otherwise Christmas will be permanently shut down.

Fred starts delivering toys, albeit without any gracefulness, with the help of Willy and the other elves. However, halfway through the night, Clyde pulls the electricity at the workshop, so that the elves can no longer give directions to Fred and Willy. While Fred and Willy try to finish delivering the gifts, Nick goes to talk to Clyde, finally realizing why he was holding such a grudge. It turns out that as a child, Clyde had always wanted a Superman cape, but had always been on the naughty list. Nick gives Clyde the cape he had always wanted, ending the grudge between the two. Clyde tries to turn the electricity back on, but it still won't work, leaving Fred and Willy on their own.

The next morning, all the elves wait nervously at Frosty's Tavern, assuming the worst. Willy and Fred return, successful in their efforts. Willy, we a renewed confidence, goes to kiss Charlene, who can now remember his name and obviously returns the sentiment. With Christmas saved, Fred returns to Wanda's house, but she is still furious with him. However, Fred feels renewed hope when he finds out she never met the other guy for dinner, and gives her a present. She opens it to find a teddy bear holding a French flag, implying that he is going to keep his promise to go to France.

Fred and Wanda get back together, and use the sleigh to travel to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower. Charlene and Willy are now happily together. Clyde now works at the North Pole as a consultant, and helps the elves to meet quota without problems. Finally, we see Fred and Wanda meeting with Nick, Mrs. Claus and Mother and Father Claus meeting for dinner, showing that they've reconciled and come together as a family. In the last shot, we see the birdhouse right outside where everyone is having dinner, and a bluebird lands on it, chirping happily.

Cast

Actor/Actress Character Notes
Vince Vaughn Frederick "Fred" Claus
Paul Giamatti Nicholas "Nick" Claus
Miranda Richardson Mrs. Annette Claus
Kathy Bates Mother Claus Fred and Nick's parents
Trevor Peacock Papa Claus
Rachel Weisz Wanda Blinkowski
Kevin Spacey Clyde Northcutt
Elizabeth Banks Charlene
Bobb'e J. Thompson Samuel "Slam" Gibbons
John Michael Higgins Willy
Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges DJ Donnie
Allan Corduner Dr. Goldfarb

As themselves



Cameo

Reception

Overall, the movie did not fare well with critics, resulting in a 23% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The movie earned $18,515,473 in its first weekend. The film closed on February 14, 2008 with a final gross of $72,006,777 in North America and another $25,831,572 in other territories for a total worldwide gross of $97,838,349. The film became number 1 in the UK on its first weekend, bringing in £1.93m. It held the top spot for 1 week until being knocked off by The Golden Compass.

Home video release

The movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 24, 2008 in the UKmarker, and November 25, 2008 in the USmarker. The special features includes 25 minutes of deleted scenes and an audio commentary by director David Dobkin. The Blu-ray Disc version includes a music video for "Ludacrismas" by Ludacris in High Definition and it will also include a bonus disc entitled Fred Claus: Race to Save Christmas.

Trivia

  • Montage sequence: During Fred's breakneck-speed toy delivery to children around the world, the city of San Francisco is represented twice, non-sequentially (the Golden Gate bridgemarker, and a hillside row of adjoining Victorian housesmarker). Among many other monuments and cities, the sled also flies over the Acropolis, Mount Rushmoremarker, the Taj Majalmarker, a New England farm & lighthouse, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Seattle, Sydney, the Vatican, and Washington, D.C.


  • Kevin Spacey plays Clyde Northcutt, an efficiency expert, who resents Santa for not giving him a Superman cape as a child because Santa classified him as "naughty." When Santa learns that every child deserves a toy on Christmas, he presents Clyde with a Superman cape. In 2006, Spacey played the nefarious Lex Luthor in the Bryan Singer-directed superhero film, Superman Returns. Making the reference deeper, in that film, in an idea lifted from Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975), the Kryptonian had a base of operations at the North Pole.


References



External links

  • (UK)



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