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

FX TLC critic resources Spectrum Originals anthology richard e. Grant Image Comics razzies dexter green book historical drama werewolf Box Office YouTube Red National Geographic 2018 lord of the rings stoner Amazon Prime Calendar art house Hear Us Out king arthur biopic debate Ovation Trophy Talk E! nature Musical Paramount Network period drama teaser tv talk disaster Syfy Nominations Baby Yoda cats black indiana jones rotten GLAAD TBS VOD romance Certified Fresh cartoon ABC Logo aliens halloween TNT fast and furious reviews Drama Disney Channel marvel comics Fox News Superheroe TV Tarantino Tumblr Fargo posters Martial Arts war CBS HBO OWN slashers TCA Awards video Women's History Month Disney+ Disney Plus Epix 4/20 target classics Opinion christmas movies FX on Hulu french SundanceTV Chernobyl ITV PaleyFest Cannes spy thriller cinemax wonder woman Showtime Pacific Islander reboot Black History Month aapi Marathons adventure Holiday YA women USA Chilling Adventures of Sabrina genre 71st Emmy Awards breaking bad Stephen King Ellie Kemper Pride Month hispanic heritage month suspense sequels diversity legend Tomatazos Comedy anime Awards Tour news dragons australia Comics on TV Mystery Extras comic book movie ABC Family latino spider-verse space black comedy Fall TV Shudder Film Festival zombies GoT Netflix Columbia Pictures animated robots APB directors james bond telelvision basketball remakes Marvel Television new york Oscars BBC America Heroines Biopics Rocky Grammys Apple TV Plus Instagram Live superman Hulu Video Games Infographic zero dark thirty know your critic 2019 universal monsters spider-man comic satire San Diego Comic-Con Broadway fresh Super Bowl cancelled superhero Valentine's Day Superheroes ESPN HBO Go President rt labs mockumentary Disney RT History casting Discovery Channel Marvel Studios spanish feel good documentaries Comic Book comic books Red Carpet chucky game of thrones olympics series OneApp Interview emmy awards Tokyo Olympics Exclusive Video laika serial killer Brie Larson what to watch independent BET Awards television high school 21st Century Fox Turner Reality Competition canceled TV shows based on movie Masterpiece Britbox live event Pop TV Adult Swim Winners Lucasfilm Mary poppins archives The Walking Dead streaming mob sopranos saw Universal Pictures Emmys theme song Sundance TV Rocketman DC streaming service Paramount Plus name the review hidden camera political drama BBC Character Guide police drama movie twilight See It Skip It kong Pirates 1990s Rock mutant rt archives japanese comic book movies spain children's TV AMC Plus boxoffice parents popular scary RT21 facebook Prime Video DirecTV new zealand italian Paramount blockbuster scene in color transformers PlayStation Winter TV spinoff cancelled television Tags: Comedy Freeform Lifetime football streaming movies blaxploitation Starz NBA cults MTV new star wars movies MSNBC IMDb TV Summer 2017 talk show Sci-Fi Horror boxing politics Creative Arts Emmys Western harry potter MCU TV Land binge crime thriller comics Comedy Central movies franchise cancelled TV series Family natural history deadpool canceled Ghostbusters Musicals dc Endgame blockbusters elevated horror Cartoon Network dreamworks Film DC Universe IFC Films renewed TV shows Spring TV social media leaderboard Avengers book adaptation book Polls and Games Warner Bros. Thanksgiving Anna Paquin A24 Fox Searchlight Dark Horse Comics CW Seed Christmas best ghosts Reality cops Binge Guide joker LGBT critics stand-up comedy Television Academy Mudbound jamie lee curtis The Academy Apple TV+ cooking Netflix Christmas movies godzilla Alien Premiere Dates Nickelodeon TruTV Fantasy docudrama Mindy Kaling WarnerMedia ratings batman Neflix prank comiccon quibi NYCC award winner 2015 Countdown witnail adaptation 79th Golden Globes Awards Photos finale thriller doctor who Academy Awards Year in Review mission: impossible HFPA pirates of the caribbean TV One YouTube Peacock scorecard The Purge hollywood DC Comics SXSW concert Vudu unscripted Sony Pictures singing competition Acorn TV vs. Hallmark CNN X-Men ID trailers Trivia dceu trophy Action free movies Universal marvel cinematic universe psycho festival festivals biography kaiju all-time hist nbcuniversal Nat Geo The Witch AMC action-comedy Spike 45 sequel Hallmark Christmas movies CMT halloween tv screenings Disney Plus Cosplay cars 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards The CW sports slasher rom-coms docuseries obituary VH1 NBC Teen Travel Channel First Reviews Captain marvel rotten movies we love supernatural Arrowverse Sundance Pet Sematary Wes Anderson Holidays royal family 2016 composers TCA Winter 2020 heist movie Apple Animation PBS young adult Sundance Now Schedule 2021 foreign Mary Poppins Returns zombie Lionsgate TV renewals king kong Kids & Family Amazon Prime Video a nightmare on elm street vampires mcc Quiz live action Amazon child's play video on demand History dramedy dogs BET scary movies criterion justice league Esquire Rom-Com Podcast medical drama TV movies Walt Disney Pictures DGA Lifetime Christmas movies Star Trek E3 SDCC science fiction BAFTA Emmy Nominations cancelled TV shows worst indie New York Comic Con Funimation The Walt Disney Company golden globes HBO Max crime drama strong female leads Mary Tyler Moore El Rey Song of Ice and Fire ViacomCBS stop motion international golden globe awards psychological thriller Disney streaming service TCA 2017 Election spanish language Marvel CBS All Access 93rd Oscars 73rd Emmy Awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt adenture A&E sag awards sitcom Television Critics Association Shondaland asian-american Turner Classic Movies Star Wars discovery rt labs critics edition game show LGBTQ 99% 007 romantic comedy gangster Trailer YouTube Premium Toys Bravo Pop IFC Country TCA The Arrangement worst movies revenge japan hispanic ABC Signature south america 24 frames die hard screen actors guild kids FOX Crackle 90s First Look comedies crossover Classic Film American Society of Cinematographers toy story monster movies Amazon Studios toronto Hollywood Foreign Press Association Pixar 20th Century Fox BBC One Comic-Con@Home 2021 2020 travel Food Network nfl documentary Watching Series Best and Worst Music Crunchyroll true crime GIFs TIFF dark Set visit versus technology USA Network Black Mirror Sneak Peek Tubi Writers Guild of America Legendary films 72 Emmy Awards Awards venice WGN TCM Elton John miniseries jurassic park FXX VICE crime