Saturday, 26 September 2020
Four Christmases
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Sunday, 14 December 2008 18:25

ThumbnailCritics are being harsh about the new holiday comedy Four Christmases, and I’m not saying this one deserves an Oscar by a long shot. But I have to admit that – deep breath – I didn’t hate this movie. I’ll tell you why.

Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon have great comedic chemistry and the banter between them is why this movie doesn’t quite deserve the big thumbs down it is getting. Unfortunately the witty repartee is interjected far too frequently by gross-out gags and cheap shots that just don’t work.

Reese and Vince play a couple whose ridiculously lovey-dovey relationship seems absolutely perfect, and too good to be true. They’ve been together for three years and somehow have avoided seeing their families at all during that time. Every Christmas, when they should be coming together, they run off to a tropical destination and lie to their families about doing some philanthropic good deep in a foreign country. Their lives are completely selfish although they are having the time of their lives. Doesn’t sound so bad I guess, does it?

Well, they get caught. When their flight is canceled due to fog, the couple ends up on a live newscast, in full tropical gear on Christmas Day. They wind up committing to spending the entire day visiting all four parental households – his mother; her mother; his father; her father. Unfortunately this is where the movie starts to go downhill as the families involved are a bit over the top and the gags just don’t play out well. Of course in the end the couple realize that although their families may be dysfunctional, they are still family – and you can’t have families without “lies”.

ThumbnailSurprisingly the cast is a pretty remarkable collection of people including Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Voight and several other talented folks. I guess they must all have thought it would be fun to work together! Steenburgen is particularly entertaining as Reese’s somewhat sexually charged mother who has found a renewed passion for faith, and for Pastor Phil (Dwight Yoakam).

Four Christmases is what it is, but doesn’t quite deserve the flack it’s getting from critics. It has some good laughs, some bad groans, and some decent performances.