Fred Claus: Ho-Ho-Hum

Great cast can't redeem not-so-great story, critics say
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2007 3:10 PM CST

(Newser) – Critics gave a frosty reception to Fred Claus, the new holiday comedy starring Vince Vaughn as Santa's rebellious brother. The cast, which includes Paul Giamatti, Kathy Bates, and Kevin Spacey, "is an embarrassment of riches for a script this thin," says Michelle Orange of the Village Voice.

Themes of adult sibling rivalry clash with standard Christmas magic, resulting in a movie "neither here nor there," writes Manohla Dargis of the New York Times. "The film is Elf without the heart, Bad Santa without the smut." Factor in an unwieldy number of subplots, writes the Onion A.V. Club's Scott Tobias, "and it's a holiday headache for the whole family."