Fred Claus (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Advance Christmas Turkeys, Part II. I had wondered, given that Paul Giamatti and Vince Vaughn star, whether this might be another Bad Santa. Some hope. They play, respectively, Santa Claus and his shiftless chancer of a brother Fred, estranged for years but now reunited in a struggle against an "efficiency expert" (Kevin Spacey) who wants to close down the North Pole. The message is, inevitably, one of peace, love and understanding, and there's nothing funny about that. The actual effect of films such as this, however, is to put you in an entirely non-Christmas, non-joyous and non-charitable mood.