Four Christmases

A Review by Jason L. King

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Tim McGraw, Steve Weibe
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Rated: PG-13
Movie Released: 2008
IMDB Link

Final Grade:

Making it’s holiday debut a year after it’s theatrical release, the Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon flick, Four Christmases finally made it to your small screen just in time for a festive holiday season. The film pokes fun at the problems that the children of divorced families everywhere have to deal with each and every Holiday season. That simply being how do you attend Four Christmases in one day? There is simply too much family to go around!

In this particular holiday tale, Kate and Brad (Witherspoon and Vaughn) find themselves in a bit of a pickle. Normally this unconventional couple tries to skip town on vacation over Christmas. but when their flight to Fiji is cancelled and their parents can call their bluff they have no excuses left. So they decide to do the unthinkable- do all 4 Christmases in one day. Jumping from oddball family member to family member they learn a lot about each other’s pasts and about each other.

What surprised me most was the cast list this film touted. Along side Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon the cast included (in no particular order): Robert Duvall, Tim McGraw, Jon Favreau, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam. Also included in the cast was a quick cameo by Steve Wiebe. For those of you not familliar with Wiebe– check out the documentary film, The King of Kong (directed by the director of Four Christmases). Wiebe’s cameo is so brief that most wouldn’t notice and I have to give my wife props for pointing it out to me. Way to go Natasha!

Four Christmases was about what I expected. It’s your traditional tale of two people thinking they know each other, find out they don’t and then magically fall back in love because it is Christmas. It has this huge cast of names playing the oddball family members you get the pleasure of seeing each year at Christmas. From that strange redneck uncle to the stuffy businessman, this film has at least one character you can envision being at your family Christmas.

Vaughn of course plays Vince Vaughn, the fast talking, smooth car salesman act that he is made audiences love. As always it is better to see Vaughn in a comedy than it is to see him trying his more serious side. Reese Witherspoon puts little to no effort in this one either, giving us the “girl next door” act she has perfected in her career. Because of the help of their supporting cast, this film works. Without them it would just be a boring road trip with Reese and Vince.

The movie has its ups and downs. The use of projectile baby vomit twice in the film is overused two too many times. The UFC fighter brother played by Favreau is too over the top and over used. But despite its flaws you will find yourself chuckling at this flick.

As you gear up for your busy holiday season, you might want to put Four Christmases on your list. It’s nothing great, and its not your traditional film filled with Christmas cheer, but if you have ever had to do four Christmas celebrations yourself you may find your self laughing. I know after watching it, I am not dying to see it again or make it part of my holiday film traditions, but at the same time I am willing to give it a second view which makes me believe I should suggest you give it a try.

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