Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: Fred Claus Fails to Spread Cheer; Lions Is Tame, P2 is Average Genre Fare

What are the critics saying about this week's movie crop?

by | November 8, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got Santa’s not-so-little helper (Fred
, starring
Vince Vaughn and
Paul Giamatti), geopolitics (Lions for
, starring
Robert Redford,
Tom Cruise, and
Meryl Streep), and one scary
parking garage (P2, starring
Rachel Nichols
and Wes Bentley). What do the critics have to

hit theaters two weeks before Thanksgiving, hoping to spread
some early Yuletide cheer. Unfortunately, the critics have made a list, checked
it twice, and determined this one’s a lump of coal.
Vince Vaughn stars as
Santa’s no-good brother, a repo man who’s lived in the shadow of St. Nick (Paul Giamatti); after a run-in with the law, Santa agrees to help his bro on the
condition that he do some hard labor at the North Pole to help with the
seasonal demand for toys. It’s a pretty funny premise, and the cast includes
such able thespians as
Miranda Richardson,
Kevin Spacey,
Chris "Ludacris"
, and Rachel Weisz. But the pundits say Fred never settles on a
workable tone, awkwardly vacillating between wacky slapstick and sappy
sentiment. At 32 percent on the Tomatometer, ’tis not the season for Fred

Vaughn trains for the upcoming Breaking Away prequel.

Lions for
is an ambitious attempt to look at the complexities of
our current political landscape from a number of different angles. It stars
Robert Redford (who also directed),
Tom Cruise, and
Meryl Streep. But despite
such impressive pedigree, pundits say the film falls flat. Lions looks at
the war on terror from the perspectives of two young enlistees, a college
professor, a senator and TV reporter. Critics say Redford’s heart is in the
right place in wanting greater engagement in politics from the general public;
it’s just that Lions is weighted down with too much talk, and ends up
coming across as a civics lesson rather than a compelling drama. At 30 percent,
on the Tomatometer, Lions for Lambs is the worst-reviewed film of
Redford’s directorial career. (Check out our interview with Lambs
screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan

"You’re a jerk!"

Fred Claus isn’t the only Christmas-themed movie in theaters this week.
is the story of a woman who’s late to Christmas Eve dinner because she’s tied up
— literally. In order to see what Santa has delivered for her this year, she
must escape the clutches of an evil security guard. Some critics say P2 is
much better than it sounds, a game of cinematic cat and mouse with a dark sense
of humor. However, others say it’s still essentially a genre exercise, and pretty gory to
boot. P2 currently stands at 46 percent on the Tomatometer.

The latest Olympic event: Formal Wear Garage Relay.

Also opening this week in limited release: the documentary
Steal a Pencil for
, about a strange love affair during the Holocaust, is at 100 percent on
the Tomatometer;
No Country for
Old Men
, a dark, tense crime film from
the Coen Brothers, is at 89 percent (check out our review from Cannes
here, and
our feature on the Coens’ filmography
a drama about child
prostitution in Vietnam, is at 86 percent;
Note By Note
, a documentary
detailing the manufacture of a Steinway piano, is at 80 percent;
a doc about a music festival in the midst of war-torn Uganda, is at 67 percent;
and Nightmare Man, a horror flick about a woman being attacked by an evil
spirit, is at 50 percent.

I say, war can dance, war can dance.

Recent Vince Vaughn Movies:
82% — Into the Wild (2007)
33% — The Break-Up (2006)
69% — Thumbsucker (2005)
74% — Wedding Crashers (2005)
29% — Be Cool (2005)

Robert Redford-Directed Movies:
41% — The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
71% — The Horse Whisperer (1998)
96% — Quiz Show (1994)
78% — A River Runs Through It (1992)
58% — The Milagro Beanfield War (1988)
89% — Ordinary People (1980)

Tag Cloud

canceled TV shows cancelled TV series dragons BBC documentaries popular suspense Esquire Disney BET Ghostbusters TIFF animated streaming movies Sci-Fi Comedy Central FX jurassic park slashers emmy awards 72 Emmy Awards christmas movies game of thrones Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sundance TV Sony Pictures anime E3 richard e. Grant screenings The Academy discovery VICE screen actors guild Turner canceled TBS parents a nightmare on elm street WarnerMedia japan Valentine's Day Disney streaming service 99% classics The Walt Disney Company NYCC Amazon Prime Video Columbia Pictures composers video Amazon Prime indiana jones Avengers spider-man National Geographic sports hispanic anthology indie History Rom-Com psychological thriller Disney Plus IFC satire 93rd Oscars Super Bowl live action Starz Musicals HBO football Kids & Family talk show Binge Guide Martial Arts godzilla Reality Competition tv talk Funimation DGA TLC Thanksgiving Sneak Peek Film YouTube Premium Rocky Mindy Kaling dark Tarantino james bond telelvision vampires binge cults fast and furious NBC halloween tv strong female leads sag awards new york harry potter SDCC Rock Paramount LGBTQ Emmy Nominations adventure dc ratings APB kaiju directors Disney+ Disney Plus Netflix Christmas movies Pet Sematary spy thriller cartoon science fiction FXX worst Cannes Oscars robots universal monsters films diversity asian-american Warner Bros. Tumblr Polls and Games chucky See It Skip It Photos Quiz Summer BBC America scary movies disaster Discovery Channel nbcuniversal Interview CBS 2019 batman high school Holiday Syfy blockbuster President The Arrangement dramedy free movies docudrama DirecTV justice league Video Games HBO Max hist Showtime olympics pirates of the caribbean A24 Action aliens natural history what to watch Epix El Rey PBS cops Hear Us Out 2020 Amazon Apple TV+ Mary poppins women ESPN based on movie CNN Sundance Now festival Classic Film The Purge Song of Ice and Fire serial killer reviews Infographic Pride Month 4/20 Elton John Nominations mutant ABC Signature Fall TV twilight Shondaland comic books VH1 Walt Disney Pictures BET Awards Brie Larson franchise spain TCA Awards Election festivals nfl Winners venice Heroines new zealand war Tokyo Olympics adenture DC Comics best king kong golden globe awards GoT true crime 007 razzies Western SXSW 45 cancelled GIFs television Image Comics Britbox space saw black new star wars movies MSNBC Set visit Superheroes kong Exclusive Video archives Tomatazos dogs critics Year in Review Calendar comiccon First Reviews Bravo Baby Yoda ID Women's History Month Awards Tour Spike comics Mary Poppins Returns jamie lee curtis kids cats Reality finale FX on Hulu know your critic Rocketman renewed TV shows Pop Star Wars blockbusters period drama Nat Geo CW Seed PaleyFest stoner Marathons OWN Apple singing competition YouTube Drama Mudbound Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt MTV TCA transformers 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards miniseries Film Festival cooking Biopics BAFTA die hard Turner Classic Movies Schedule Nickelodeon Ovation sitcom Logo Cartoon Network USA Network Alien TNT technology laika theme song Fantasy police drama TCM documentary travel Universal south america Dark Horse Comics versus TV One reboot GLAAD Comedy Watching Series book The Walking Dead medical drama Vudu golden globes comedies sequel Trivia USA Premiere Dates Animation Certified Fresh thriller YA hidden camera Star Trek Disney Channel crime thriller ViacomCBS social media crossover 2017 Best and Worst scene in color blaxploitation Shudder revenge FOX movie news OneApp psycho 90s CBS All Access X-Men unscripted politics Awards cinemax Trailer Peacock toronto VOD American Society of Cinematographers The CW rt archives latino ITV Mary Tyler Moore San Diego Comic-Con Holidays name the review SundanceTV historical drama dceu 71st Emmy Awards toy story comic Hallmark WGN ABC Family Podcast international target 2015 Musical adaptation Superheroe spanish language Lucasfilm Crackle Marvel Television Mystery Hulu Endgame Lifetime Christmas movies 20th Century Fox Ellie Kemper Spectrum Originals Box Office ABC Television Critics Association Paramount Plus criterion green book Red Carpet Marvel Pixar supernatural Pirates trailers stop motion Character Guide Winter TV political drama Horror monster movies IFC Films crime drama concert E! Fox Searchlight HBO Go TV Land casting heist movie fresh biography Sundance DC Universe TCA Winter 2020 Stephen King Emmys award winner 21st Century Fox Toys NBA foreign Legendary teaser basketball australia Trophy Talk Grammys cars lord of the rings TV renewals Teen New York Comic Con aapi mockumentary boxoffice deadpool legend Food Network spinoff Extras TCA 2017 Family japanese 2021 sequels ghosts CMT rotten Freeform worst movies 2018 Fox News Captain marvel Television Academy Marvel Studios Tubi witnail Creative Arts Emmys Apple TV Plus Black Mirror all-time children's TV streaming remakes BBC One rotten movies we love Broadway First Look PlayStation facebook Pop TV werewolf zero dark thirty zombie Spring TV 2016 RT History cancelled TV shows Comics on TV Black History Month movies stand-up comedy Lionsgate prank crime LGBT cancelled television Adult Swim Country Opinion Christmas superman rom-coms Music Pacific Islander halloween Hallmark Christmas movies The Witch TV movies Arrowverse TV Paramount Network Masterpiece Countdown spanish joker italian superhero RT21 Amazon Studios docuseries AMC quibi Academy Awards A&E romance TruTV romantic comedy video on demand Wes Anderson YouTube Red Comic Book independent doctor who Crunchyroll scorecard series 24 frames child's play Acorn TV MCU book adaptation Anna Paquin french marvel cinematic universe DC streaming service Writers Guild of America breaking bad zombies Comic-Con@Home 2021 Netflix boxing game show Lifetime Travel Channel hollywood elevated horror obituary Chernobyl mission: impossible nature 1990s Cosplay