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Movie Review: Four Christmases

Four Christmases: A (Very) Light Dash of Holiday Fun

It's most likely that Four Christmases wouldn't be nearly so funny or endearing (though that may be slightly too strong a word for it) if it didn't take place around the holidays. Just watching these family members be mean to each other would probably be merely sad if it weren't juxtaposed with this holiday that is supposed to be at least partially about family togetherness. The premise of the film is gimmicky for sure (four Christmases in one day?), but what happens during those four Christmases is actually a lot of fun to watch.

I didn't expect much from this film and I was delightfully surprised. It's funnier than I thought it would be, and while Vaughn and Witherspoon are pretty much devoid of chemistry, there is an undeniable quirky charm to their pairing, though their best and funniest moments are when they're not in scenes together. The two play San Francisco couple Brad and Kate who go on exotic trips for Christmas each year in order to avoid their families. This year, however, they find out at the airport that all flights are canceled for the day. When a television news crew approaches them for a comment about the cancellations, the cat is let out of the bag: Brad and Kate are, in fact, in town for Christmas. Zaniness, of course, ensues, so


Having seen the news reports, all four sets of Brad and Kate's divorced parents get in touch, hoping for some time with the elusive couple. Thus begins a hectic, harrowing day of physical abuse from Brad's brothers and emotional abuse from Kate's sister. Additionally, Brad has to play Taboo with his childhood buddy who is now dating his mother (Sissy Spacek, who, after Hot Rod, is getting quite good at the comedic older mom roles), and Kate revisits one of her most traumatic childhood moments. In the end, they learn a lot about each other and themselves and their families. You know the drill.

It's actually a good date movie in that I think both men and women will get a kick out of the silly hijinks and surprisingly funny wordplay, and the humor is relatively inoffensive. There are some slower moments but for the most part there aren't many points of forced emotion. In fact, one of the best things about the movie is that it's not "message-y." There's no tearful group hug and professions of the holidays being "all about our wacky, loving family!" There's very little schmaltz, and while the schmaltz is wonderful in many holiday movies, I found the lack of it here to be refreshing.

All in all, it's a forgettable film — I don't foresee any memorable Anchorman-like quotes making their way into our pop culture lexicon, for example — but while it lasts it's a pretty good jolt of holiday fun.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.

Join The Conversation
Ellietalk Ellietalk 8 years
not the biggest fan of this movie...sad because i love them both!
eicmarie eicmarie 8 years
It was a lot of fun to watch, and I liked that in the end they stayed themselves and weren't trying to reconnect with their families in any especially sugary way.
blondie829 blondie829 8 years
Did not like this movie...
scotlandrulz scotlandrulz 8 years
it was very funny! i loved it!
briggs313 briggs313 8 years
Don't waste your time and money! It's not Christmasy at all! And Vince Vaughn is the same boring actor he is in all his movies!! I'd rather see Twilight for the third time :)
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
This movie looks cute! I can't wait to see it.
coriollis coriollis 8 years
Just watched it, and i liked it! I was expecting it to be run of the mill, but left the cinema with no negative feelings at all. It was what it set out to be; a heartwarming sweet funny film and it fufilled all of those aspirations. It was just a fun show to watch, though not particularly brain stimulating. Liked it! Anyone looking for some sweet enjoyable fluff should catch it
italianblonde italianblonde 8 years
I can't wait to see this movie..I'm a fan of both Reese and Vince. I don't expect it to be so hilarious, but all I'm looking for is a good laugh right now. And what's so absurd about going to 4 peoples' houses on the same day for Christmas? I go to 5 or 6 people's houses on Christmas Eve and Day. Of course the ones who live out of town require a whole day commitment but if they're relatively close it's just normal to me.
hokiepokie hokiepokie 8 years
I love Reese but my expectations for this movie were pretty low. So, when I saw it yesterday I was pleasantly surprised. It's a really cute movie & I would definitely recommend it. Reese & Vince don't really have chemistry, but they play off each other well. It's a great little bit of fluff & certain parts really rang true for me with my family.
KadBunny KadBunny 8 years
I love Reese but man it looks lame.. but I guess Christmas comedies are usually cheesy anyway.
xoxoT xoxoT 8 years
I just saw it the other day! I thought it was really funny, Vince Vaughn is great!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Enjoyed the review, Buzz. I'll probably rent this one--next year at the holidays.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
my assistant went to see it yesterday and had good things to say about it too - so i'm not surprised that it's getting these kinds of reviews. i don't know if i'll go see it - chances are i will but who knows :)
skilledatlife4 skilledatlife4 8 years
I was disappointed when I heard that Reese was doing this film because I find her a supremely talented actor. However, it does seem like fun, so I may go see it.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i'm going to stop reading the reviews past the first paragraph cuz i'm actually DYING to see this movie. i haven't wanted to see a movie this bad in awhile. my boyfriend has promised to take me this weekend! this will really get me in the christmas spirit. yay!
mrskrismendoza mrskrismendoza 8 years
I love Reese so I will probably see this. But maybe not till it's on t.v.
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