Four Christmases : Witherspoon and Vaughn can't save this bad script.
Written: Dec 10, 2008 (Updated Dec 10, 2008)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Nice cast, decent premise, a few cute scenes.
Cons:Some very lame humor, and some drama that makes no sense.
The Bottom Line: It starts out OK, but it just doesn't go anywhere.
Four Christmases is a very average movie, nothing you should run right out to see. While the premise is cute, there's just nothing here that screams "Must See".
Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn are Kate and Brad. Single, but very much in love, enjoying their long-term relationship, without a care in the world for the conventional traditions of marriage, and children. They're free spirits, very much in-synch. They always go away for Christmas - some exotic locale where they can enjoy each other, and avoid their wacky families. You see, both sets of parents are divorced, so there are four parental households, not to mention some new partners, and a bunch of siblings. So, rather than deal with all of that, they take off for places far and wide.
But not this year - all outbound flights are canceled due to weather problems. Hanging out at the airport, with nowhere to go, they're chosen to be interviewed by the news. When their families see them on tv, it becomes clear that they're staying in town this year, thus they get roped into going to all four houses in one day.
The rest of the movie follows all four visits, and dredges up some drama as Kate's priorities change over the course of the day.
Each visit is like its own little sitcom. With a pretty decent cast, the four households are full of wacky characters. You've got Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth, and Jon Voight, just to name a few. None of them can be described as "normal" - like I said, imagine four separate sitcoms and you've got the picture of the home visits.
Was it funny? Well, there were a few cute scenes. But there's also a lot of physical humor (grown brothers beating each other up, falls from rooftops, things like that). And there's a lot of humor revolving around babies spitting up, and little kids acting like brats. All very average stuff, nothing that blew me away. In fact, most of the "humor" was pretty lame.
My favorite scene from the visits revolved around a game of Taboo - a game where you divide into teams and describe a word or phrase to your teammate, without saying any of the "taboo" words on the card. Having played that game many times, the scene really hit home with me - the couples who are experts at the game because they can practically read each other's minds, the players who don't really understand the rules and mess up all the time, and the general chaos that can ensue when a bunch of wacky people attempt to play an organized game.
But the main point of that scene was to show how Brad and Kate really don't know each other very well. In fact, that point is drilled home in several scenes. Kate doesn't know a thing about Brad's family. And Brad doesn't know a thing about Kate's childhood.
You'd think that maybe, after this big revelation, Brad and Kate might want to work on this issue, perhaps really take some time to get to know each other's history. But they don't see it that way at all. Instead, Kate just goes a bit nuts, changing her priorities completely. And she HAS to talk to Brad about it RIGHT NOW. Apparently, she and Brad can't simply agree to discuss it, perhaps when they get back home, and not while they're driving like crazy people to four separate houses in a single day. It seems to me that she could have simply said "Honey, I've been thinking about some stuff. Let's talk about it tomorrow, when we're home, and relaxing over a cup of eggnog". Isn't that how normal adults would handle the situation when one has a major revelation that could change the course of their relationship? But no, they both have to react harshly and tear each other down. Why? Because the movie has to have its Big Hollywood Ending. The one with a Huge Christmas Message. Forget the fact that the whole drama and resolution made no sense whatsoever, just bring on the Christmas cheer.
In the end, despite reasonable performances, and a nice cast of supporting characters, the movie didn't wow me. In fact, I would call it "average at best", and advise you to skip it.
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