As usual, Hollywood is spewing out the Christmas offerings before we even hit Thanksgiving, and as usual it’s your standard seasonal treacle wasting the talents of all involved. This time around it’s Paul Giamatti and Vince Vaughn’s turn in the bottom of the barrel, as Santa Claus and his ne’er-do-well older brother Fred, respectively, in this unambitious retread of Elf. The scenario involves Fred dragging his tail back to the North Pole to help out his brother during the seasonal crush, ostensibly to wheedle some direly needed fundage from the family trough. Of course, complications arise in the form of a Scroogish efficiency expect on the premises that has a hidden agenda. Ooh, the suspense … will Fred thwart the Grinch-like plan and along the way get his sorry act together? Right. The sad thing is that for all the money and talent involved, Fred Claus just comes across as a competent but easily forgettable made-for-TV movie. Ho ho hum.