1 hour, 56 minutes
PG Parental Guidance Suggested.
for mild language and some rude humor.
Commentary by Director David Dobkin; Over 25 Minutes of additional scenes.
Vince Vaughn ... Fred Claus
Paul Giamatti ... Nick 'Santa' Claus
John Michael Higgins ... Willie
Miranda Richardson ... Annette Claus
Rachel Weisz ... Wanda
Kathy Bates ... Mother Claus
Trevor Peacock ... Papa Claus
Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges... DJ Donnie
Elizabeth Banks ... Charlene
Christian Hansen ... Fireman
Fred Claus, Santa's bitter older brother, is forced to move to the North Pole.Kevin Spacey ... Clyde
Centuries ago, Fred (Jordon Hull), was turned against his little brother Nick (Theo Stevenson) because he was always so generous and consequently the favorite of their parents Santa (Trevor Peacock) and Mrs Claus (Kathy Bates). Cut to the present and Fred (Vince Vaughn "Wedding Crashers") is now a shiftless, fast-talking con-man in Chicago, estranged from his family. But when he’s thrown in jail just before Christmas for one of his get-rich-quick schemes, he calls Nick (Paul Giamatti "Sideways") to bail him out. By now Nick who's become Santa agrees, much to the consternation of his wife (Miranda Richardson "Sleepy Hollow"), but insists that Fred come to the North Pole and work off his debt by making toys. Unfortunately, Fred arrives just as that mean-spirited efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey "American Beauty") shows up, and his disruptive conduct gives the number-cruncher all the ammunition he needs to close the toy factory down. The fact that Santa has also invited mom and dad to his place to rebuild family relationships makes matters even worse.
The film directed by David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers") goes on from there including an on-again, off-again romance between Fred and a Chicago meter maid (Rachel Weisz "The Constant Gardener"), and a friendship with Santa’s chief elf, a lovesick fellow named Willie (John Michael Higgins "Fun with Dick and Jane"). But his big turnaround comes when he's able to take over his brother's Christmas gift delivery route, and make all the deliveries before dawn on Christmas morning.
There are many times when the film becomes a bit silly, but there are sporadic hign points including an inspired episode involving a “Siblings Anonymous” group and featuring some surprising cameos. Unfortunately thse moments are more than overbalanced by some poor slapstick, and a dreadful dance sequence with Fred and the elves. There's also an inordinate amount of shrillness and bickering before the seemingly inevitable moment when Fred discovers the true meaning of Christmas, which somehow leaves you feeling a bit better.