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June 4th, 2007:
Comedy superstar, Vince Vaughn
stars in his new movie, "Fred Claus" as the older and polarly opposite brother of Christmas' biggest icon - Good ole' Saint Nick. Growing up at the North Pole wasn't easy for Fred, as he was constantly compared to his virtuous brother. As much as he tried, he could never measure up to Nicholas Claus (Paul Giamatti
), who was the perfect saint. Nick grew up to be the embodiment of Christmas with his philanthropy and altruistic ways, whilst his older, disgruntled brother Fred grew up to be the exact opposite - a callous repo man who then stole whatever he repossessed. Unfortunately, Fred's deceitfulness finally catches up with him, and he ends
up in jail. Amidst a furor of protests from Mrs. Claus (Miranda Richardson
), Nicholas sympathizes with his brother and bails him out on one condition: Fred must come back to the North Pole, and repay his debt by making toys. The trouble though is that he is not exactly elf material, and with Christmas quickly approaching, Fred's antics could not only jeopardize the merriest time of the year at the North Pole, but also for millions of people around the world!What to Expect:
Once again, Hollywood's leading funny man, Vince Vaughn has teamed up with director David Dobkin
to bring us one of the funniest Christmas comedies for 2007: Fred Claus. Downright comedy and eye-watering laughs are no strangers to these two, having previously worked together on the hysterically comical Wedding Crashers (2006) as well as on some other sets including the thriller Clay Pigeons (1998). Over the years, they have developed quite an appreciation for each other's work. Sources reported that Dobkin had originally signed on to direct "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
" starring the well-acclaimed comedians, Adam Sandler
and Kevin James; but had divorced himself from that set when he heard about Vaughn's project, and the opportunity to work with him again. Article continues below
In addition, to hiring the $20 million comedy-carrying star, Vince Vaughn, the producers have also brought on a great cast of supporting actors to work with Vaughn. I think this may be becoming the new trend in Hollywood for the comedy genre - The slapstick, standard comedic "superstar" surrounded by a great supporting cast of much better actors. I have noticed this trend in other movies such as "Talladega Nights
" and John C. Reilly, and "The Break Up
" and Vincent D'Onofrio. I think it is Hollywood's new way of blending in a little more cultured comedy with the standard comedy of the lead star.
This trend is also noticeable in Fred Claus as well. Vince's brother is played by Paul Giamatti, who has won a slew of awards, and numerous nominations during his acting career. His most notable nominations were for Best Supporting Actor in Cinderella Man (2005) and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Big Momma's House (2000). Giamatti's cool, collected personality will be a great contrast to the haywire Vaughn, creating a dynamic perspective that is sure to produce tons of laughs. Fred Claus also brings aboard the beautiful Rachel Weisz (Wanda) who recently won an Oscar for The Constant Gardener (2005); as well as Elizabeth Banks who was a good supporting actress in several notable films like Catch Me If You Can (2002), Seabiscuit (2003), 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), and most recently Spider-Man 3
Another supporting cast member that has been brought on is the rapper Ludacris
who plays the role of an angry little elf. As I write this, flashbacks of Tony Cox's ludicrously crude elf character in Bad Santa (2003) comes to mind right away. I think that with Ludacris' naturally witty outlook and ebullient attitude, he should be able to generate a couple laughs throughout the film with his character. In an interview with Ludacris he describes his character as the elf DJ for the North Pole - the only problem is that he spins one track over, and over again: Here Comes Santa Claus. That's sure to make for one angry little elf! To top it all off, the producers also hired the veteran presence of actor, Kevin Spacey
to produce a well-rounded and highly talented ensemble of experienced actors whose skills are sure to augur well with Vaughn's lead character.
With such a seasoned cast, I expect that the onus will fall on the editor, Mark Livolsi, to put together a well choreographed comedy. However, I expect nothing less from Livolsi who has done a marvelous job in several other comedy films such as Elizabethtown, My Suicidal Sweetheart, The Girl Next Door, Pieces of April, and was recently nominated for awards by the American Cinema Editors for The Devil Wears Prada
and The Wedding Crashers.In Conclusion:
I've noticed over the years, that most of these Christmas comedies are either hits or misses, with very little in between. Some of them like the Santa Clause movies are warm and bring out the Christmas spirit but tend to deliver more chuckles than laughs. Then there is the other extreme like the movie, "Bad Santa" which is outlandishly comical with its crude humor, but a direct contrast to the embodiment of Christmas. I expect Fred Claus to fall somewhere in between with a blend of both themes: An enjoyable, festive comedy that will start out the holiday season for its audience with a funny, and warm tingly feeling that only this time of the year can convey.Similar Titles: The Santa Clause
, The Santa Clause 2
, Bad Santa