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Leave your thinking cap at home for ‘Fred Claus’

If you don’t think too much while watching “Fred Claus,” you’re sure to enjoy it.

The movie makes use of decent special effects, a well-written script and the most basic forms of comedy (the kinds that don’t require any thought, but that nearly everybody loves) to tell its story. Once the plot is given some thought, it makes no sense — too many basic questions left unanswered, too many topics left uncovered. At the conclusion of the movie, the narrator refers to characters who had previously not even been named.

However, “Fred Claus” can be entertaining if viewed with a large group of people ready to have a good time.

“Fred Claus” is the story of, well, Fred Claus (played by Vince Vaughn), a repo man and scam artist who just happens to be the older brother of Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti). The astoundingly predictable tale of two brothers uses physical humor and the types of comedy that can be best appreciated by 11-year-old boys to get its point across.

In the movie, Fred Claus is essentially a good guy who resents his saintly, more successful brother. After avoiding Santa for years, Fred needs money for a business venture and calls up his little brother for help.

Santa insists that if Fred wants $50,000, he has to come to the North Pole and help his brother in order to earn the money. Leaving behind his girlfriend, Wanda (Rachel Weisz), Fred is picked up by Willie (John Michael Higgins), one of Santa’s elves, and taken by sleigh to the North Pole.

The Claus family is dysfunctional in an endearing sort of way.

Mother Claus (Kathy Bates) dotes on her youngest son while criticizing her older one. Papa Claus (Trevor Peacock) stays mostly on the sidelines, barely making his presence known. Annette Claus (Miranda Richardson), Santa’s wife, worries about her husband’s weight problem.

Fred spends most of his time at the North Pole getting himself into trouble. He locks the North Pole’s radio DJ in a cabinet. He starts an impromptu dance party when the elves are supposed to be working. He marks all of the naughty children as nice. He gets into a fight with Santa Claus, resulting in the big man seriously injuring his back.

Of course, the plot twists and turns in such a way that Fred must save Christmas and make up with Santa.

Though the story was predictable and the jokes immature, “Fred Claus” is an enjoyable movie, sure to become a Christmas classic.

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