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Fred Claus (2007)



Average Rating: 4.2/10
Reviews Counted: 139
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 110

A slew of talent is wasted in this contrived and overly sentimental Christmas film, which can't quite get the balance between slapstick humor and sentimental family moments.


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 29

A slew of talent is wasted in this contrived and overly sentimental Christmas film, which can't quite get the balance between slapstick humor and sentimental family moments.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 370,692

My Rating

Movie Info

Santa's black-sheep brother gets a much-needed shot at redemption in this holiday comedy reuniting actor Vince Vaughn and director David Dobkin (Clay Pigeons, Wedding Crashers). It's not easy being the brother of a benevolent and beloved saint, and no one knows that better than Fred Claus (Vaughn). After struggling for years to live up to the example set by his younger sibling Nicholas (Paul Giamatti), Fred has finally given up. These days Fred is working as a repo man taken to stealing the



Dan Fogelman, Don Fogelman, Jessie Nelson

Nov 25, 2008


Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (145) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (110) | DVD (20)

Dobkin's film is lit up by a couple of genius scenes: first, a siblings support-group attended by Frank Stallone, Stephen Baldwin and Roger Clinton; second, a superb in-joke triggering Spacey's redemptive thaw-out, stoking a festive glow against the odds.

November 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is less ho-ho-ho than uh-oh, or oh-no.

November 12, 2007 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are some scattered big laughs and a sweet message here, so I'm giving it a mild recommendation.

November 12, 2007 | Comment (1)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As derivative and predictable as any of the holiday comedies of the past few years, providing audiences with at best a handful of laughs. Most of it is uninspired.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It senselessly dims an idea that should shine as brightly as Rudolph's nose.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Vaughn gets plenty of mileage exploring both the painful and fun sides of Fred.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's no improvement on Bad Santa, or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, for that matter.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Fred Claus will never go down in history as a holiday classic, or even one of Vaughn's better known films, but a sterling cast lifts up what could have been easy mediocrity.

March 22, 2011 Full Review Source:

A turbulent ride that shifts tonal gears and messages like oscillations in the weather, ending in mythological frostbite.

November 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Fred Claus is not an entirely bad picture, but it is a decidedly bland one.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Vaughn's act may be toned down a bit, but he still plays the same fast-talking, quip-spouting arrogant schmuck that he usually does, and it wears thin real fast.

May 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Watertown Daily Times
Watertown Daily Times

Rather than creating imaginative situations for Vaughn to explore, director David Dobkin merely asks that Vaughn be himself, as if his personality were big enough to wring humor out of a comic vacuum.

April 9, 2008
San Francisco Examiner

Unfortunately, this is a broad family comedy that depends on odd sound effects (zonks! splat!) during every scene...

March 4, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

Does it make me a Scrooge to suggest that this is one piece of holiday coal you should leave in your stocking?

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Springs Gazette

Fred Claus won't make us forget "Rudolph," "Frosty" or even "The Santa Clause."

January 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Times
Washington Times

It is a joyless rehash of old plots and jokes. File "Fred Claus" under lump of coal.

December 12, 2007 Full Review

Paul Giamatti is forced to play Santa like a socially awkward version of Vince Vaughn

December 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Snobs
Film Snobs

There are no laughs from the material, which wants to be edgy but can't go for broke because it's too busy being a trifling piece of holiday cheer but without the cheer.

December 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

Fred Claus tries desperately for a Bad Santa meets Elf vibe. Five minutes in, the man sitting next to me was sound asleep.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The actual effect of films such as this, however, is to put you in an entirely non-Christmas, non-joyous and non-charitable mood.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

An archly mirthless comedy.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Financial Times | Comment (1)
Financial Times

Fred Claus is in the grand tradition of a certain type of Yuletide farce - one that's about as funny as a crushed bauble in your egg nog.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The spirit of Scrooge surges strong within me having watched this chillingly cynical and unfunny Christmas movie.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

DICK VAN DYKE had an excuse for doing a terrible Cockney accent in Mary Poppins - he is American. But how Brit Rachel Weisz can explain her "you wot" effort in Fred Claus is anyone's guess.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

It's not exactly It's A Wonderful Life, with Vaughn's trademark blokeishness starting to jar, Giamatti strangely miserable and the laughs generally thin on the ground.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

You'll have a better time if you spend Christmas wedged up a chimney.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Fred Claus

Great film, probably the best Xmas movie for years. It works mainly because of Vaughn and his deadpan, sarcastic deliveries and being an average Joe in his forties. It makes you feel good not because of the Xmas factor but because Vaughn makes you feel happy and comfortable about being an average Joe. The everyman who has to put up with life's crap just like the normal folk outside Hollywood.

Spacey and Giamatti are also very good in their roles as expected. It does look and play out like ALL other Xmas films but a slight twist on the plot, a few neat visual gags and some good verbal make all the difference. The legal side with Spacey is quite special but the sloppy ending almost spoils it...but its a nice flick.
May 14, 2012

Super Reviewer

Not the funniest film ever but it does make you feel like you need to be more tolerant of your family and help them out during the holidays. Something to get you in the mood.
December 26, 2011

Super Reviewer

You don't have to be a cynical old Scrooge like me to see through this transparent nonsense. The moral message is totally confused, just when it becomes time to explain themselves, someone throws a dwarf in the air like it's funny and socially acceptable. Where exactly was Santa born and in what time period? At least it got one thing right, Christmas is all about receiving - that's it. I would say that this is just another capitalist consumer Coca-cola Christmas story but I don't think the writers are that intelligent. The only redeeming feature was the support for people living in their brothers shadow scene but then even that felt like a wasted opportunity. I can't say I was that disappointed though as it pretty much matched my low expectations. Directed by David Dobkin, ah now it makes sense!
December 19, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Elf: Can I get a ho-ho-...
    2. Fred Claus: No.
    – Submitted by Mike R (16 months ago)
    1. Fred Claus: The world is what you make of it and it all starts with what you make of yourself.
    – Submitted by Dann M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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