‘Fred Claus’ a typical holiday flick

Kelly Covell

If the snowflakes adorning the street lights in town and the festive display in the Villanova bookstore are not enough to launch you prematurely into the holiday spirit, then definitely make seeing “Fred Claus” a priority. Starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti, it is a light-hearted Christmas comedy young enough for the whole family but with intermittent R-rated jokes that will not go over your head.

Vaughn plays Santa Claus’s older sibling who is overshadowed by his brother’s accomplishments and therefore transformed into a bitter cynic.

It is not until he agrees to help out at the North Pole that the typical Christmas spirit transformation takes place in a Scrooge-inspired, predictable yet happy-go-lucky holiday tale.

Vaughn’s no-fail witty antics seem out of place in the PG storyline but manage to deliver laughs opposite Giamatti’s earnest portrayal of Santa Claus.

Other recognizable characters in the cast include Kevin Spacey as the anti-Christmas character who is there to oversee and potentially shut down Santa’s operation; Rachel Weisz as Vaugn’s on-again, off-again girlfriend; and Ludacris as the workshop DJ. A North Pole village, the likes of which you could only imagine, is the primary backdrop with high-tech toy manufacturing and “naughty and nice” monitoring.

The story manages to come full circle, delivering timeless morals of acceptance and holiday cheer. If it’s an Oscar-worthy performance that you’re looking for, then keep browsing your local movie listings, but for a distraction from reality, a renewed belief in Santa Claus and a jump-start into the approaching Christmas season, “Fred Claus” will get the job done.