Whether or not you're going to enjoy Fred Claus pretty much boils down to one easy question: Do you like Vince Vaughn? If you find Mr. Vaughn's on-screen fast-talking, swagger-walking good-man-but-bad-boy shtick irritating or tedious, Fred Claus will be as enjoyable as a heaping plate of undercooked salmonella-laced turkey. If you find Mr. Vaughn to be a lively, animated figure who livens up pedestrian material with his mere presence on-screen, you'll find Fred Claus a well-intentioned, family-friendly, big-and-shiny holiday comedy.

And while Fred Claus is hardly a one-person show -- it's got a nice, deep back bench of supporting players that keep things moving along in the right key -- it would be hard to deny that star (and producer) Vaughn is the quarterback of the team. Grafting modern family dynamics psychology onto ancient folklore, Fred Claus opens with the youth of the Claus boys, as young Frederick attends the birth of his new brother Nicolas in an unnamed semi-medieval Euro-style thatched hut home. Nicolas is a lovely baby, and grows to be a kind and gentle child; so kind and gentle, in fact, that Fred can't help but look a little shabby in comparison. We then zoom forward an unspecified number of years, as our narrator explains that the attainment of sainthood freezes you and your whole family in time. Santa is ageless; so is Frederick ...