movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). Starring Paul Giamatti (Harvey Pekar in American Splendor, Sideways, ridiculous bad guy from Shoot ‘Em Up, Lady In The Water, Dr. Satan from The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Storytelling, The Truman Show, Donni Brasco) as Santa Claus, and Vince Vaughn (Four Christmases, Wedding Crashers, Anchorman, Dodgeball, Old School, Zoolander, Made, The Cell, Swingers) as his older brother Fred.

Santa’s hot wife is played by Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter, Chicken Run, Sleepy Hollow, The Crying Game). Head Elf Willy is played by John Michael Higgins (Mentok The Mindtaker in Harvey Birdman:Attorney At Law, 5 eps of Arrested Development, Yes Man, Walk Hard, Evan Almighty, Blade 3, Wag The Dog). Mother Claus is played by scary Kathy Bates (Misery, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Golden Compass, Six Feet Under) — which is an interesting casting choice since I always expect her to tie people up and break their legs. Father Claus, Trevor Peacock, was also in Sunshine.

Fred Claus’s girlfriend Wanda is played by Rachel Weisz (Evy from The Mummy movies, Sunshine, The Fountain, The Constant Gardener). Willy’s love interest is played by Elizabeth Banks (Role Models, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Spider-Man 1-3, Wet Hot American Summer, Catch Me If You Can). Efficiency expert/bad guy Clyde is played by Kevin Spacey. And Ludacris plays an elf!

There are also 3 brothers of famous people starring in cameos: Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton, and Stephen Baldwin.

QUIRKS: Christmas movie.

PLOT SUMMARY: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486583/synopsis

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): N’er do well brother almost ruins Christmas for an entire planet.

VISUALS: CGI elves made from non-little people actors. Great sleigh shots. A decent amount of effects for a Christmas movie, actually.

SOUNDTRACK: Christmas music, obviously, but major bonus points for using a song that was actually in the playlist playing when we stopped to watch the movie: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. Also: The Bird Is The Word.

GOOD STUFF: Great cast; good Christmas story adopted to modern age.

CONCLUSION: A decent Christmas comedy-fantasy full of heart, with a great cast. “Elf” may have been a decent Christmas comedy to watch — one which received the same rating as this one — but this one actually had heart and a decent Christmasy story.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Same ratings that we gave to the movie Elf!

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.7/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.1/5 stars–which is closer to the 3/5 we rated than 3.3 is. Go Netflix!).

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth seeing!

SIMILAR MOVIES: While Elf may have more ridicuilous laughs than Fred Claus, Fred Claus actually has more heart, and a better, more Christmasy plot.

MOVIE QUOTE: Fred Claus: “I don’t hate you, Nick. I just wish you’d never been born.”Mood: slow torrent bluesy
Music: Slayer – Spirit In Black