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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Christmas > Holiday > Fred Claus (2007/Warner Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Fred Claus (2007/Warner Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

 

Picture: B-/C/C-†††† Sound: B-/C+/C†† ††Extras: C†††† Film: C

 

 

When the Christmas film become formulaic, the glut is like a lump of coal and though David Dobkinís Fred Claus (2007) is far from the worst or most condescending such comedy, it is so predictable and tired that even those making it look bored more often than not.The producers (including Joel Silver, who has zero knack for family entertainment, as the dreadful Speed Racer remake showed) build the film on thinking a toned-down version of Vince Vaughnís usually annoying jerk persona would somehow be charming and by him just being restrained, that would somehow equal redemption and a hit.Boy, were they wrong!

 

For one thing, Vaughn is more talented than the corner he has painted himself into and gets zero chance to show that off thanks to Dan (Cars, the Pixar feature that turned out so much better) Fogelmanís almost confused script.Vaughn is the title character, a little-known brother of the famous man in red, who is not quite the generous guy his gift-giving and highly popular sibling is.That he is only in his late 30s or the like is never explained, like so much in this tale, but logic is not a strong point of this project.

 

Some efficiency pinhead is causing Santa trouble and Fred is flown in to help.Will he annoy the guy into an institution?Can they save Christmas?Will the Religious Right show up in Hummers with guns to help?Will this ever be a good film?

 

Vaughnís character comes across as a second-rate version of the kind of character Bill Murray used to play so well and more than a few times, was reminded of the superior and underrated Murray/Richard Donner effort Scrooged (1988) with much more authenticity, an edge and an early gag with Lee Majors that upends this whole film as trite.Without that considered, the film boasts some name actors and in one of the only things it did correctly, cast Paul Giamatti as Santa.Too bad that idea is wasted too.

 

Dobkin reunited with Vaughn after indie collaboration Clay Pigeons and comedy hit Wedding Crashers, but the third time is not the charm and the result is a film that tries to appeal to across the board demographics and is just bored all over.At best, Fred Claus might have made for a good comedy skit, but is far too long at 115 minutes!

 

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is much softer than expected, while the anamorphically enhanced DVD version is much softer and worse than it should be and pan & scan 1.33 X 1 flipside reminiscent of the VHS and Beta era.However this film looked in theaters, Remi Adefarasin, B.S.C., shot this in Sup0er 35mm and I find it hard to believe it looked this poor.Than a cinematographer who did such a great job lensing Onegin, House Of Mirth, some recent Woody Allen films (Scoop, Match Point) and more commercial fare like Johnny English and About A Boy could have work looking this poor here.This will not help it be a belated hit either.

 

Not having Dolby TrueHD as an option on the Blu-ray is another big mistake, though the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on all three versions are on the weak side and for a new film with some budget, the mix and sonics should have been much better.Even Scrooged had more sound character.Christophe Beckís score is nothing great, but look what he had to score.

 

Extras include a Blu-ray exclusive bonus disc, the DVD game dubbed Race To Save Christmas.Both format versions also offer 25 minutes of additional scenes, Vince & Paulís Fireside Chat (as both lead actors interview each other), the Ludochristmas Music Video (in HD on the Blu-ray), Pause For Claus (in HD on the Blu-ray), Sibling Rivalry (in HD on the Blu-ray), and Meet The Other Claus (in HD on the Blu-ray).

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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