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STUDIO: New Line
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
Two assholes have divorced parents. They travel frequently.
Reese Witherspoon, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Dwight Yoakum and Vince Vaughn
Brad and Kate want to escape their families during the Christmas Holidays. They make up a bullshit story that gets ruined by a cancelled flight. If that wasn’t enough, a local television report only helps to blow their plans. This leads the duo into the loving arms of their dysfunctional families. Babies, gross food, religion and cougars are all obstacles that lie in their path. Will Brad and Kate survive? Do you still care?
It’s not that I hate Vince Vaughn. It’s just that he has no appeal. You might think he has appeal, but do you really watch any movie for him. The pro-Vaughn people are so passive in their appreciation. No one can say that he makes a movie better, but it’s not bad that he’s in it. He’s a rug that ties the cinematic room together. Does a rug belong at the center of a movie?
Four Christmases is a reminder about the shit that passes for mainstream American comedy. You take two actors that aren’t that comfortable doing comedy, then you surround them with better actors. Upstaging happens more than a telegraphed joke in this flick. Hell, that’s if you can by the script that’s been to the doctor more than your average dead toiletry heiress. Throw on the stench of Holiday marketing and you’ve got a film that plays to the Wal-Mart set.
The whole Christmas angle doesn’t really work for the movie. Which is kind of odd, when you consider that the Holiday is only used as an excuse for the initial bullshit or the family gatherings. Everything is an afterthought, when you get the forced character build moments for Witherspoon and Vaughn. Sure, their characters have names. But, there’s no personality there. It’s that giant fucking chin and the man-child goliath spitting out shit dialogue. You change the locale, change the supporting actors and it’s still the same scene. The characters need to learn to be assholes together in a traditional setting.
When you look at the supporting cast, your mind boggles. Four Oscar winners that actually earned their Gold Statues have to play the clown to Vaughn and Witherspoon. What kind of fucked up reality are we living in? The average teen viewer or older Middle American doesn’t give a shit about Jon Voight or Sissy Spacek. They’re just the old sacks of flesh placed in a movie to dole out tedious bits of wisdom. The amount of starfuckery and tilting of the script to Witherspoon and Vaughn is disgusting when you watch poor Mary Steenburgen act circles around them. Sure, it doesn’t take much to play a sexed-up MILF. But, she’s doing it well.
Director Seth Gordon can actually direct. Hell, his recent episode of The Office did more in twenty-two minutes than this film did in eighty-eight. It’s just that this film is an obvious attempt to break out of documentary background and move to that next level. Every director cashes a check, some make careers out of it. I just wish that Gordon had a better script sense. Supposedly, Vince Vaughn actively campaigned for Gordon to get the job. Looking gift horses in the mouth is normally bad, but sometimes you’ve got to say no. Work smaller, work cheaper…just find a better movie.
I don’t want to end this being a giant Negative Nelly. But, I can’t think of a way to end this. So, I took a shot of Kristen Chenoweth below. You might remember her from Pushing Daisies or The West Wing. I’ve been watching Glee a lot recently and I can’t stop thinking about how hot she is. She’s like classic E.G. Daily, but with a better rack. Chenoweth was in this movie, but I can’t remember her doing much. I think that a baby vomited or something. It was supposed to be funny.
DVD has decent A/V Quality for a recent release. The Dolby 5.1 track does a good job supporting the comedic FX and dialogue. But, there’s no special features. Shit like this is why people don’t way to buy on release date anymore. Get it together, Warner Brothers super entertainment corporation of Anti-Life.