Four Christmases

| November 30, 2008

Upon exiting my second viewing of Four Christmases this weekend, I suddenly realized the secret key ingredient to enjoying this movie- hating your family. I personally despise my immediate family. Spending Christmas with them is like someone smothering me with a pillow for a long period of time and yet I just won’t die. My father only cares about two things- sports and food. He would sacrifice his children for these things if the choice ever occurred. Then there’s my mother and sister who together have a combined IQ of a Down Syndrome stoner. All they talk about is other people, shopping and the fact that Obama is the Anti-Christ. This explains why I favor dysfunctional family flicks like Home for the Holidays and The Ref. If all you think about is putting a shotgun in your mouth around the holidays, Four Christmases is up your alley.
Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star as a happy couple who plan to stay that way by never getting married, never having kids and never visiting their families on the holidays. If there really is a woman out there who has such a brilliant plan, for God’s sake email my editor for my number. Their plans go downhill fast when they get stranded at the airport and interviewed by a news crew who spoils their plan, thus forcing them to spend Christmas at four different houses (well, more like 3 ½). Truthfully, I was worried about this flick turning out well. First, there were reports that Vaughn and Witherspoon despised each other and caused a lot of problems with filming. Or, this could be because Witherspoon is an uptight bitch and Vaughn is awesome. Witherspoon is from my hometown and I don’t know what she’s like now, but she was definitely a stuck-up attention whore before she was famous. There’s no way Hollywood improves that problem.
Anyway, the tabloids say that problems emerged over different acting styles. Vaughn likes to keep it loose and improv, seeing where the scenes takes him. But Witherspoon apparently likes to stick to the script. I like Vaughn’s flicks but I will admit, the dude does have a problem with staying within the parameters of the story. Some of his rants in previous flicks (ahem… Fred Claus) are totally random and unfunny. Thankfully, Vaughn sticks with the funny here (either that or the editor picked the funniest clips of his improv).
The trailers make this picture look disastrous. It makes it look more like Christmas With The Kranks than National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (and trust me, there’s a big difference). Don’t let the shitty TV spots turn you off, because this movie is fucking funny. While there are a couple slapstick bits I could’ve done without (the previews blow them up tremendously), most of the flick is filled with witty dialogue and great chemistry between the cast. Hell, I even liked the pairing of Vaughn and Witherspoon, which for some reason is getting ripped hard by other critics. It has a very recognizable cast, and I really did feel like everyone was a family and the awkwardness felt pretty damn real when the main characters are stuck in uncomfortable situations. Kudos to the writers for managing to successfully create four separate and very unique fucked up families. Other critics are also taking a dump all over the ending by calling it rushed or unfunny. Frankly, I didn’t mind the way it ended and I thought the movie stopped right where it should have (they could’ve easily dragged the concept another half hour).
I would definitely put Four Christmases up there with other great holiday classics that substitute liquor during this time of year. I have a feeling it will go down as one of the better Christmas flicks of this decade. Just don’t go see it with the family you hate, because that just ruins what would be an otherwise joyous (and sober) experience.
Grade: A-

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