Paul Giamatti is an actor with a wide range. He’s played everything from a ruthless hitman, to a gruff-yet-lovable physical trainer, to an annoying neurotic who likes comic books, to an annoying neurotic who likes wine. But with the release tomorrow of Fred Claus, we are about to witness the moment at which Giamatti, mad with his own sense of flexibility, takes on a role he cannot possibly do justice. Why? Because Santa Claus looks like this:
He’s jolly, his eyes sparkle with love, and he’s Tim Allen. Paul Giamatti, on the other hand, looks like this:
Yes, he has the drugs, but he’s not going to hand them over until you submit to a cavity search. He’s had some trouble with the pigs lately.
Even when he tries his damnedest to pull of the St. Nick look, it’s a no go.
Yes, Paul, you’ve got a hat and beard, but you’re also dressed in all black and looking at me as if whichever one of us pulls our switchblade first is going to walk out of here alive. Come back to me when you don't hate life.
If the Rotten Tomato reviews are any indication (a whopping 0% from the “Cream of the Crop” as of this writing), Fred Claus is going to predictably lick snowballs. And while I’m sure Paul isn’t the only thing to blame for the movie’s undoubted failure—one reviewer mentioned a scene in which Ludicris’ head is digitally put onto a tiny body, an image out of my nightmares I had hoped years of therapy had eradicated forever—Giamatti cum Claus is a horror I am honestly sad to see unleashed on this generation of children.
Beware parents: take your kids to this movie and risk finding letters like this one placed fearfully by the milk and cookies come Christmas Eve, scrawled by tiny trembling hands:
Dear Santa, I understand you will be coming into our house tonight. Please don’t hurt us. I have been very good all year, and all I ask is that you make your stay short and don’t take any of mommy's nice things. I assume from the red circles under your eyes that you are drunk; please try to keep from knocking anything over while you’re here. If you want to leave me a bike, that would be great, but only if it’s a gift and you don’t want it back later. I don’t need you knocking on my window or sending me death threats in the mail come February. I’ve enclosed five dollars. Please consider it a gift, in exchange for your not urinating anywhere in the house. And please Santa, get some help. Sleeping with a rifle, Billy