Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Favreau
The holiday season is a time that perennially fills itself with movie releases. There are the giant blockbusters that usually only fulfill the bust part, the built for the Oscars group that have been held back until the fourth quarter so that people don’t forget about them when it is time to vote for the awards and of course their is the full slate of obligatory Christmas themed comedies that are usually horrible and are only moderately successful because they have the word Christmas in the title. This last group is how Tim Allen has fed his family for the last several years. They are usually not funny enough for any real laughs, to cheesy to digest easily, with an ending sweet enough to put you in an insulin coma. There have been some notable exceptions to these trappings like, The Santa Claus, Bad Santa, The Ref and others you can find in our list of the best Christmas movies of all time. Four Christmases fallss into the last category (Christmas themed Movies) but is good enough to make its way into your Christmas movie rotation.
Four Christmases is the story of a self centered, narcissistic yuppie couple (if you want to see the birth of these characters, pay attention to Clark Griswald’s neighbors in Christmas Vacation) Brad and Kate. They spend every Christmas holiday finding elaborate excuses to avoid spending the holidays with their dysfunctional families and take lavish vacations in Bali and Fiji. When their flight to Fiji is cancelled due to Bay area fog, they are ambushed by a reporter asking for their thoughts on the cancellations. This impromptu press conference, in spite of Brad’s best efforts to say nothing, is broadcast on live television. Their families see the footage and realize that Brad and Kate are not actually going to be inoculating impoverished children in Burma and demand that the couple visit. Their Christmas circuit of his mom, his dad, her mom and her dad, takes them on a whirlwind of misadventures but it also takes them on a journey of discovery where they start rethinking their relationship with their families and each other.
Four Christmases is one of the few holiday movies that successfully toes the line of tradition and irreverence. It has enough of a sweet message to make you want to call home when you are finished and enough good laughs to make it fun. Vince Vaughn delivers a great performance and displays the great delivery and comedic timing that has kept him busy since he jumped onto the scene in swingers. Both he and Reese Witherspoon always seem to find roles that allow them to just be themselves and it works. If you are looking for a fun night out with plenty of laughs that will get you in the holiday spirit, don’t miss this one.
Director: Seth Gordon