Fred Claus is a lost cause from the first flicker of the projector. Some Hollywood smartie mustve burped, Hey, what if we mixed Bad Santa and Elf? So they did and the result is the most charmless Christmas movie this side of Jingle All the Way, Deck the Halls and the mid 80s Dudley Moore debacle, Santa Claus: The Movie. Vince Vaughn bears the stigma of the title role, but good actors like Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates and Miranda Richardson are stuck in the yellow snow with him.
As the abysmal Fred Claus reminds us, one thing women have been spared is the ignominy of carrying the weight of some noxious family holiday movie cooked up by people who spend their holidays in Aspen or Costa Rica (read, very rich, very untalented types who know how to get their movie on the screen, then take the money and run). Think about it. Not only the aforementioned Dudley Moore, but also Arnold Schwartzenegger in Jingle All the Way (which my husband deemed so unwatchable he sat in the car in the parking lot rather than be in the same room with it) and the twin debacle of Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick in last years Deck the Halls” (known at my house as Dreck the Halls). Tim Allen soldiered on in three Santa Clause pictures. Jim Varney contributed Ernest Saves Christmas. Bill Murray in Scrooged looks almost classic by comparison.
Of course, guys get most of the good movies, too. Alastair Sim in A Christmas Carol and Jimmy Stewart in Its a Wonderful Life for starters. Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, too.
But movies that center around women toiling through Yuletide are hard to come by. Two exceptions, which you may want to rent when it gets past Thanksgiving: A Magic Christmas, sort of Mary Steenburgens version of Its a Wonderful Life, and Christmas in Connecticut, with Barbara Stanwyck trying to pretend that making Christmas cookies is her sole reason for living.