Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 7/25
Four Christmases isn’t a great movie, or a great Christmas movie. It just sort of is.
I saw this film, directed by Seth Gorden, when it arrived in theaters in 2008. I had gone with my family, which probably peppered my experience with a good vibe that wrongly colored my experience and my memory of this one as being enjoyable. It’s not worthless; it’s just too long and too lacking in humor. Oh, and too silly. And too big-budgety to feel like it’s got any soul in it.
Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a pair of yuppies who meet at a bar and yuppie up together for a long-term relationship. For the three years hence, they avoid going home to spend Christmas with either of their mothers’ and fathers’ sides of the family, instead lying to them about goodwill endeavors to cover their many vacations. So right from the jump there’s a disconnect between the jet-setting leads and the audience. It’s a little hard to sympathize with these lily white people, their tons of money and so-awful-they-must-be-avoided but equally white and well-off families.
The concept of two people avoiding four distinct gatherings of people for Christmas, seems like rich soil for a good story, but with these characters the film just can’t get the job done. But more than that, it’s all wrapped in this “do we want to get married and have kids?” will-they-won’t they gift wrap that is tiresome. Oh, and they’re learning things about one another from each family encounter that they’d been trying to keep secret, like how Witherspoon’s Kate used to be fat. Whooo boy, strap in because this is a real rollercoaster ride.
There are a couple of good jokes in here, an I mean only a couple, but it isn’t even Christmasy enough to cover up for its many rough edges despite the setting, scenery and big-budget score. You won’t hate yourself for sitting through it, but you should never seek it out as a great Christmas film to watch.
Skip it. It’s just a ★★☆☆☆ with riding crops for unlikeable lead characters and a dearth of humor in a supposed comedy. Final rating:
Edit: I said this movie is “too long”. It sure feels that way. But it’s only 90 minutes. In 90 minutes they made me feel like each family earned its own 20 minutes or so. This movie is slooooow.