“Four Christmases” Hit/Miss

Genres: Comedy, Kids/Family, Romance and Holiday
Running Time: 1 hr. 20 min.
Release Date: November 26th, 2008 (wide) MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual language and humor.
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

Directed by: Seth Gordon

JJ Rating: B

Kate (Reese Witherspoon) and Brad (Vince Vaughn) are dating. For a few years they have gone on vacations during Christmas instead of going to visit family. That was until they were caught on news when their vacation flight was canceled. They were seen by their family. Now they have to visit them. The problem is that their parents are divorced, which means they have to go to four different homes in one day. Four Christmases.

It amused me to see that Tim McGraw and Dwight Yoakam were in this film. There were lots of familiar faces, but those two had me snickering especially the roles they were playing. Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, John Voight play the parents. Tim McGraw, Jon Favreau, Kristin Chenoweth play some of the siblings. There was decent acting by all. But mostly it was nothing totally outstanding. They all had funny moments and they all entertained as they were paid to do.

Vince Vaughn is the same in almost every single film. I can’t imagine how annoying a movie would be if all it was about were the characters he played. It would be like seeing a thousand of him in one film. I don’t know if that is tolerable. Reese Witherspoon is the only shining light in this entire comedy. She acts well and one of my favorite scenes is with her and an air bounce for children. It was funny and entertaining and something I’m sure many people would want to do if they could.

The film had moments of funny. There were uncomfortable family moments, secrets revealed, jokes had at other people’s expense and throw up humor. Some of it hit the mark and others just missed. What really was a miss, though, is the heart the film tried to pull out of nothing. The humor was fairly easy to produce and give some moments of laughter; but the heart was an entirely different matter. It was too trite in its attempt and when I can’t get into one of the characters, because it was more like Vince Vaughn being himself, it complicates caring for the couple as a whole.

Four Christmases is a fun film for humor but a lackluster one for heart. I believe that holiday films should try to reach for the heart strings but this one decided it was best to tickle and tease and then just let everyone down. I think if one is trying to find a film that most people would enjoy to see then this will hit some marks within that margin of error. It’s going to entertain most people but it’ll vary on how much they’ll like it.

There is a line in the film that states, “You can’t spell families without lies.” It was something to that affect. It is, to me, an interesting line. Well you can’t spell Four Christmases without Hit/Miss. The problem there is I used the “I” twice, but I forgive myself and so should you.

2 comments:

Lucy said...

This very funny, very sharp little comedy is fast becoming the underrated cult film of the year

The Judge said...

Sorry Lucy, but you are either working for the studio or are on crack.

The film is bad, but not bad enough to warrant ascension to cult status.

So what you are left with is a marginaly bland seasonal comedy that no one will remember by this time next year.

Fred Claus, anyone?

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