Movie Details
Recommendation

Four Christmases (2008)

 
 
 

Like Christmas, Dislike This

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Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases (2008)

A Christmas rom-com, it's got to be sweet, funny, magical, romantic and leaving you feeling a warm, glow of goodness radiating out from with in when it finishes. Unfortunately "Four Christmases" achieves none of this and to be honest calling it a Christmas movie is a stretch because other than being set over Christmas it really is just a run of the mill rom-com. Actually I wouldn't go that far because even a run of the mill rom-com will deliver laughs, maybe some romance and cuteness yet "Four Christmases" doesn't and in doing so left me totally alienated. I wanted it to put me in a good mood but all "Four Christmases" achieved was to make me grateful when it was over.

Brad (Vince Vaughn - Fred Claus) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon - Penelope) have been together for three years and enjoy their life together doing what they like and with no intention of either getting married or having children. What they also have no intention of is spending Christmas with either of their estranged families and are heading off to Fiji on a Christmas vacation. Well they would be if heavy fog hadn't caused all flights to be cancelled and find themselves having to visit each of their divorced parents in the same day. What should have been a great day turns into one from hell as they discover things about each other they never knew but also stuff about themselves which leads to issues with their relationship.

Jon Favreau and Katy Mixon in Four Christmases (2008)

What is the most annoying thing is that "Four Christmases" is packaged as a Christmas movie, it's set over the Christmas period revolving around a couple having to face the trials and tribulations of seeing all their family in one day. But there is not one ounce of Christmas spirit on show, or at least not the warm Christmas spirit most expect from a Christmas movie. Maybe I was expecting too much, too traditional but other than a scene or two of Christmas presents being unwrapped as Brad and Kate visit each relative and an utterly cringe worthy nativity play the whole Christmas thing is ignored.

This ends up meaning that "Four Christmases" is pretty much just a rom-com but sadly one which is neither romantic nor funny. The whole romantic side of things revolves around this seemingly happy couple ending up at logger heads as the stresses of visiting their estranged families in one day highlights that maybe they want something different in life. Maybe I missed something but this slow progression from being loved up in to a state or harassment is not that romantic nor is the expected getting back on track after some thinking time and as such it left me uncomfortably numb.

But what really was uncomfortable was the actual comedy which in the entire movie made me laugh maybe once, even twice and that was early on. It sort of starts well and the conversation that Brad and Kate have with a couple of fellow workers over how painful Christmas is, is sort of amusing. But after that "Four Christmases" aims to be a screwball comedy as each visit brings comedy chaos from wrestling brothers, puking babies and being suckered into performing in a nativity play, except none of it is really that funny. Maybe it's me but watching a baby getting its head clouted by a door, a woman talking about her nipples being like tyre rubber and the whole wrestling thing just isn't funny. Perhaps I was expecting something cutesy, more subtle but the humour left me as numb as the storyline and as such I was happy when "Four Christmases" ended.

Sadly I can't say that things get any better when it comes to the characters as Brad and Kate end up coming across as such a self centred couple that to warm to them even when their characters change is incredibly hard. It doesn't help that Reese Witherspoon looks like she has come out of the 90s version of "Beverly Hills, 90210" and Vince Vaughn is so full of himself that he never stops being annoying. It just feels wrong and as such the supposed romance between Brad and Kate just doesn't feel right. Even the comically inspired opening fails to make them any more believable as a modern pair who dislike Christmas.

Although Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn are the central characters "Four Christmases" does feature an impressive supporting cast although again the characters did little for me. In amongst the various family members there are Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Tim McGraw, Jon Favreau and Kristin Chenoweth.

The things is that whilst "Four Christmases" didn't work for me, probably because when I watch a Christmas movie I expect to feel a warmth, the edgy comedy and the whole destruction of a relationship may work for those who are bored of old style, feel good Christmas movies.

What this all boils down to is that for me "Four Christmases" was a huge disappointment. From the comedy, the storyline and the lack of a Christmassy feeling it failed to work leaving me numb and only happy when it was over. And as such I have to say if you want a really magical, feel good Christmas movie then "Four Christmases" is not what you want, but if you want something edgy, which isn't cutesy in a traditional Christmas movie way then maybe you will enjoy it.

Tags: Christmas Movies

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