A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to catch Four Christmases with my wife at the movie theater. And I have to say that even though it’s not my favorite Christmas movie (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation holds that spot), it wasn’t half bad!
Four Christmases stars Vince Vaughn (as Brad) and Reese Witherspoon (as Kate) as a couple who has managed to avoid their families every year at Christmas for a few years by lying about their whereabouts and heading off to exotic vacation spots. This year due to the weather, they can’t get out of the airport and are put on the spot by a TV news reporter. Oops. With the cat out of the bag (of course their families were watching), they are forced to visit four homes on Christmas Day. Who knew divorced families could be this much fun?
I have to say that Vince isn’t one of my favorite comedy actors, but somehow he and Reese worked well together. And the all-star cast didn’t hurt either.
Robert Duvall was hilarious as Howard, Brad’s (or should I say “Orlando” – “We were all named for the city in which we were conceived!”) father. Jon Favreau as brother Denver, and Tim McGraw as brother Dallas round out the all star wrestling household. But Favreau and Duvall steal the show.
Sissy Spacek played Paula, Brad’s mom, who happens to be dating Brad’s best friend from school. Can you say awkward?
On Kate’s side, you have Jon Voight as Creighton, her dad. He’s a very proper and upright fellow. And then there’s Mary Steenburgen as Marilyn, Kate’s mom. She’s found religion and a boyfriend in Pastor Phil (played by the always great Dwight Yoakam).
One of my favorite parts of the movie was when Brad and Kate agree to a “safe word” to use if things get too crazy at one of the houses. “Mistletoe” has a whole new context now. It gets used to great effect in a couple of parts of the film.
The other scene that both my wife and I dissolved into laughter over (other non-parents might not find this as amusing) was the scene where Kate held her sister Courtney’s (played by Kristen Chenoweth) baby. The baby managed to throw up on her and Brad evidently doesn’t do so well with vomit. If you’ve never had kids, you won’t know how funny it is to see people without them deal with some of the “joys” of raising children!
After seeing this movie, my own family doesn’t seem quite as weird!
If you’re looking for light, funny holiday fare, Four Christmases does nicely. It’s fun, but probably not a new holiday classic for us regardless of how much money it makes at the box office. It was great to see Jon Favreau in a scene stealing role in front of the camera after Iron Man however!
I’ll give it 2.5 out of 4. It was fun, just not all that memorable.
p.s. Definitely check out National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation however… It’s a classic!