It can be literally painful to watch a clever comedy contort itself into palatable, family fare. As you cringe at the awkwardness on the screen, a crimp of sympathetic embarrassment tends to creep into your neck. There are a lot of painful moments in Fred Claus, in which a game Vince Vaughn and a sharp premise are slowly whittled away by warm and fuzzy feel-good pandering. Vaughn plays the title character, a Chicago con man who has no use for Christmas, mainly because his annoyingly cheerful brother is the actual Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti). But this isn’t Bad Santa. Even calling it Mischievous Santa would be a stretch. For as soon as Fred arrives in the North Pole to visit his brother (Paul Giamatti), the movie sets about forcibly infusing him with the Christmas spirit, mainly via elf fights and humiliating dance sequences.