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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Four Christmases

November 26th, 2008

Rated PG-13 for some sexual humour and language.

Seth Gordon (dir.)

Alex Wurman (music)

Vince Vaughn as Brad

Reese Witherspoon as Kate

Robert Duvall as Howard

Sissy Spacek as Paula

Jon Voight as Creighton

Jon Favreau as Denver

Mary Steenburgen as Marilyn

Our reviews below:


Four Christmases Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of four)

“You can’t spell families without lies” says Vince Vaughn’s character, Brad, in the new holiday movie Four Christmases. And it’s true, you can’t. Despite it’s title, Four Christmases feels like it should be taking place at American Thanksgiving instead of Christmas, but I guess “Four Christmases” sounds better then “Four Thanksgivings”. While it is funny and has it’s share of laugh-out-loud moments, it lacks the real heart that has been evident in many other holiday comedies, like Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and is not as funny as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

This doesn’t mean it’s not still mildly worth seeing, the actors, leading and supporting, all get in their share of laughs, and the story is pretty good. It’s about a shallow couple who always ditch Christmas for the beaches of some hot country, and tell their families that they’re going off to do missionary work. But when all flights are canceled, they are forced to visit each of their parents, and both sets just happen to be divorced, hence the title Four Christmases. If you are excepting a sweet story of redemption, this is not it, even by the end they are still pretty shallow.

I liked watching Robert Duvall, Jon Voight, and Jon Favreau. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon worked well as the two leads, and the whole supporting cast is made up of well known actors. But, is not really something that needs to be seen in theatres, as it would play just as well (if not better) on DVD, in time for next Christmas.

While it is by no means a classic, it is still fairly entertaining, and at a brisk speed of only 88 minutes, it doesn’t feel like your wasting too much time, either.


Four Christmases Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of four)

Four Christmases is about Brad, (Vince Vaughn), and Kate, (Reese Witherspoon), a couple who always try to avoid the holidays with their families by pretending that they are doing missionary work in foreign countries. In reality they always go for a nice vacation on the beach, but this year, due to bad weather, all flights are canceled, and they are seen on the news at the airport by their parents. Now, with no excuse, they are forced to go see his father, and his mother, and her father, and her mother. (Both of their parents are divorced, hence the four Christmases.) Of course, being the kind of comedy that it is, things don’t really work out all that well. (If you’ve seen the trailer, you have a fairly accurate depiction of what this movie will be like.)

This was by no means a brilliant comedy, or movie for that matter. I have seen Christmas comedies that I have enjoyed a whole lot more than this one. For what it is, it is all right, and there were some laughs in certain scenes - but it doesn’t feel very Christmassy. This could have been any holiday, and I would have believed it just as much. Most Christmas movies that I have seen have more heart than this, and the characters are at least trying to like each other and get along by the end.

In short, I wouldn’t recommend going out to the theater to see this one, especially considering what else there is out right now, (like Bolt). But still, if you’re curious, it’s only 82 minutes long, and could be worth a rental on DVD.


Four Christmases Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of four)

Four Christmases is a funny and satirical physical comedy, about our dysfunctional society. It revolves around Kate and Brad, an unmarried couple who have a dilemma in common. Both of them are embarrassed by their families, and neither of them want to introduce the other to their respective parents, (both of whom are divorced couples). So they lie to their parents, saying that they are going on missionary work, when in reality, they are going on vacation to Fiji. But the flight gets canceled, and when Kate and Brad are interviewed on the news at the airport, the truth gets out. Both Kate and Brad have to visit all four of their parents’ houses for Christmas. From Brad’s redneck father’s house, with his two amateur wrestler brothers, to Kate’s wild little nieces and nephews, neither of them enjoy being with their dysfunctional families.

Some of the best laughs come from the dialogue between Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. This film, as well as having some good laughs, also points out, (albeit in a very cynical way), the problems with today’s world of divorce, lying, lack of communication between family members, and the very damaging effect that the disintegration of a solid family unit has on people, especially children. It is apparent why Brad is afraid to marry Kate, because of a fear of commitment to love. One of the funniest, and most offensive scenes in the movie is when Brad butchers a nativity play, because he does not understand what Christmas means.

Although this movie is called “Four Christmases,” this film never gets into the Christmas spirit. The best scene in the movie is at Kate’s father’s house. In this scene, the family says grace, and a sense of love and forgiveness is present. This is the only scene in which love, and the true meaning of Christmas is portrayed. Sadly, this doesn’t last long, and even in the end, the families are not forgiven. (But there is some hope in the final scene that this may have to change.)

This movie is funny, but also sad in it’s reality of our antisocial society. While not suitable to bring the family to, due to it’s content, this movie is worth renting at any time of year. Sometimes it is good to laugh at what is wrong in our world.


Four Christmases Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of four)

Tis the season for holiday movies. Four Christmases is a new addition to the list of holiday themed comedy films that will be rented around Christmas time for years to come.

Four Christmases is about a young, shallow couple, Brad, (Vince Vaughn), and Kate, (Reese Witherspoon), who find themselves forced by circumstances to visit their respective divorced parents. The pair had avoided spending previous Christmases with their families for reasons that become obvious as the movie unfolds. Each visit is a disaster. The family members are obnoxious and the humour crude and played for cheap laughs. Fortunately Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are solid actors with a good sense of comedic timing and help this movie rise above the somewhat cynical view of families and holiday celebrations.

There are many funny scenes in Four Christmases particularly the irreverent and somewhat offensive nativity play. While I laughed along with the rest of the audience, I found it hard to feel any sense of Christmas spirit at any point in this movie. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer not to be cynical when it comes to Christmas. I enjoyed watching this movie while I was in the theater, but it won’t be on my list of must watch movies for Christmases to come.

I would say that if you find yourself at a mall with a movie theater and want to end your Christmas shopping excursion with some light holiday entertainment and have a few laughs, by all means go see Four Christmases. Otherwise wait till next Christmas when it’s a rental. Keep in mind this isn’t really a family Christmas movie. This one’s for 14 and up due to language and more adult humour.


Four Christmases Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of four)

Determined to avoid the stress of their divorced parents, Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) enjoy their shallow unmarried life together. Caught stranded at the airport on local television, they realize they won’t get away this Christmas without painful visits to each of their parents’ homes. In the first visit Brad is humiliated by his redneck father (Robert Duvall) and wrestling tag team brothers (Jon Favreau & Tim McGraw). Next Kate is forced to relive her past with her mother (Mary Steenburgen), her charismatic preacher lover (Dwight Yoakam) and her sister (Kristin Chenoweth). Then Brad must deal with his mother (Sissy Spacek) who has taken up with his childhood friend. Finally, they end up at the home of Kate’s father (Jon Voight). As the day goes on Brad and Kate both discover things they would never had revealed about each other. Seeing her sister and sister-in-law with their kids Kate wonders whether she and Brad should take their relationship that much further, but Brad balks at first. You can guess the epilogue. There are a lot of gags along the way, and the strong cast all live up to their stereotypical roles.

Four Christmases won’t be a Christmas classic, but it is an entertaining comedy, at least worth renting. _____________________________________________

Consensus: Four Christmases has a few good laughs, and a strong cast. While not one to make sure to catch in theaters, it is worth a rental. **1/2 (out of four)

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