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Fred Claus

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Not only is that where they store the laughs, but frankly it's closer to our realities than the twinkly end reels with their momentum-killing bromides and squishy hugs. David Dobkin's overlong family holiday comedy about Santa's peevish, vulgar older brother Fred (Vince Vaughn) scores some easy laughs upfront -- Vaughn can do overgrown jerk in his sleep -- and is buoyed considerably by decent players (Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey). But finally, Claus gets twisted into too many make-nice knots that compromise any enjoyable silliness. And for the love of Wal-Mart, please spare us another bulletin that consumer goods = love.

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