Bad ideas seem to skip generations when it comes to making holiday movies. Today's hectic farce-spectacle Fred Claus replicates the key mistake of the 1985 dud, Santa Claus: The Movie. With the potential of Santa's wonderworks at their disposal, all the filmmakers come up with for a plot is the peril of measuring toyshop productivity.
In Fred Claus, the villain is Kevin Spacey's efficiency expert, who threatens to shut Santa's operation down if he can't meet children's increasing demands. In Santa Claus: The Movie, it's John Lithgow as a tycoon, who competes against St. Nick with the unwitting help of an elf with a yen for assembly lines. At one point, the tycoon threatens to institute a sequel holiday: Christmas II. At times, Fred Claus might as well be Santa Claus: The Movie II.