Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Fred Claus


What’s that? The sound of jingle bells, this early November? That must mean it’s time for Hollywood to start dropping its latest bunch of reindeer turds marketed as “Christmas movies.” We’ve been getting them regular as vegan bowel movements for many years now, sometimes only one, sometimes, in a year when the creative laxative is really working, as many as two or three. Mostly I haven’t seen them. According to rumor they reached the bottom of the toilet bowl a few years back with Christmas With the Kranks. I wouldn’t know. I understand Jingle All the Way was pretty bad, too; in fact, if a few more people had actually seen it we might not have Arnold for governor here in Cahleefornia. Whatever … they would have to have been really stunningly awful to out-awful this one, which is about as funny as shoving a really big holly wreath up your ass. Not a single joke works. Lee nodded off. Luckily, being in the car, nobody but me could hear her snore. (Kidding. I handle the snoring for both of us, and most of the rest of LA County, too.)
And I’m not a total Scrooge, though I no longer do anything at all for Christmas, I can actually like Christmas movies. I even like the straight ones, every once in a while, such as One Magic Christmas, with Harry Dean Stanton as an angel, or Elf, with Will Ferrell. But I admit, I prefer them with an edge. It can be a gentle, quirky edge, like in maybe the best Christmas movie ever, A Christmas Story. Or it can be like Scrooged, which I liked better than most people did, or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It can even be Bad Santa … and you want edge? That one was about as edgy as a bob-wire enema. But this one tries to split the difference, and that’s a balancing act it comes nowhere near to achieving.
There is one scene that has some potential, but it’s very near the end and by that time I was so angry at the people who had cobbled this crap together it made little impression on me. The schtick here, as I’m sure you know, is that Santa has a brother, and all his life this brother has been unable to live up to the giant shadow cast by the big ho-ho-ho dude. He attends Brothers Anonymous, where other loser brothers tell their sad stories. Among them are Roger Clinton, Sylvester Stallone’s brother, and one of the Lesser Baldwin Brothers … who the hell knows what their names are? Like I say, might have been some laughs here, but it would have helped if, say, Tommy Smothers had been there, too. Like I say, this movie is the log swimming in your egg-nog, and it ain’t cinnamon.