Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This movie has too much going for it to suck, right? "American Hyena" below is trying to warn us not to pay attention to the great cast and the potential of Paul Giamatti, Vince Vaughn and Kevin Spacey bouncing off each other for comedy gold. He gets pretty detailed below. I only hope the screening was so early that the movie's still unfinished and will be tighter, more efficient when we finally get to see it this November. Enjoy the review!
So…yay. Review time. Buddy and I took in a preview screening of Fred Claus in Thousand Oaks, California on Saturday. Fair warning, I'm probably going to be semi-spoilerific. Hum… Y'know, normally I sorta like Vince Vaughn. And I really like Paul Giamatti. And Kevin Spacey. Unfortunately this movie still sucks. Vaughn's patented average Joe delivery works pretty well in movies where he's playing a guy you're supposed to relate too. Thing is, this movie makes it damn near impossible to do that because, frankly, Fred Claus is an asshole. Like, reeeeeeeeeeeally irritating. There are a few characters like that in this unfortunately. Miranda Richardson turns in a screeching performance as Mrs. Claus. You can tell that it's supposed to be funny, but it's really just excruciating. At times the character on screen is seriously nails-on-chalkboard agonizing. Oh…and the ninja elves. Yes, ninja elves. They're Santa's own private secret service. It's horribly unfunny the first time and they do at least three. Actually, most of the elves are pretty irritating. John Michael Higgins as the lead elf Willy is sort of endearing, but there's a MIND NUMBINGLY unfunny DJ elf character and two other…sort-of-in-charge elves that also do a lot of screeching. Also, Higgin's character is in love with Elizabeth Bank's character, who is, for reasons never explained, the only actual human working in the entire operation of Elves. Seriously, everybody in this movie screeches at each other constantly. And none of it's funny. There's a scene somewhere around the twenty-minute mark where Vaughn's character picks a fight with about twenty Salvation Army Santas. And for about five minutes, the movie's pretty funny. Then stuff happens and Fred visits the North Pole to work for his brother (Santa) for three weeks. The why of it is totally un-important. And I mean that quite literally, it's cast aside as an after thought somewhere near the end of the film. And from there on we get about an hour or so of Fred slacking off and causing "hilarious" problems in Santa's workshop. I cannot possibly stress how painfully unfunny it all is. The audience was actually squirming uncomfortably. Total and absolute SILENCE. Anyhow, Kevin Spacey shows up and he's a BAD efficiency expert dead set to shut down the North Pole operation. There are extremely vague references to a board and an authority to which Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy must answer to, but you never really have any idea of why the fuck Santa has to listen to this guy. More stuff happens. A three strike/plot point rule against Santa is instituted, Fred saves the day. Predictable Christmas movie climax. At about an hour and a half in there's a second really funny scene involving Fred going to a "Sibling's Anonymous meeting." Brothers named Stallone, Clinton, and Baldwin all make appearances. And there's hope of humor again. It doesn't last long though. Now, to be fair, Giamatti and Spacey are great in their roles. They actually "defeat" Spacey by doing the tried and true "Santa remembers when you were a little boy" thing. And amazingly, it's the one REALLY great scene in the movie. It starts off with a gag reference to Spacey's character not getting a Superman cape one year and before you realize it, they build off that and bounce back and forth off each other in a really sparkling scene (as far as Christmas's movies go). And it's aggravating because you realize there was hope for something really great in this film at one point. Before Vince Vaughn. And the damn elves. Seriously. Ninja FUCKING Elves. And yah…there's some other stuff. Vaughn has a bond with a little semi-orphaned kid. And Rachel Weisz does…incredibly little actually as Fred's girlfriend. Kathy Bates gets pretty wasted too playing the Mom. And that's really it. The sheer waste of source material boggles the mind. It's literally Elf/Factory joke after Elf/Factory joke for most of it. Meh, I'm bitter I guess. I'm a huge Christmas movie geek and the trailer for this looked hysterical to me, but there are just too few likeable characters, no funny jokes save two scenes, and just…yah. Huge, MASSIVE disappointment on this one. Anyhow, hope y'all find this of interest. If you're still doing the moniker thing, I guess I'm American Hyena. Have a good one.