Rated PG-13; Directed by Seth Gordon; Starring Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaugh, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Voight, Kristin Chenoweth
It’s that time of year when the film studios try to come up with the next big Christmas film. Some studios aim for heartfelt and warm family pictures; others go for satirical comedies. There are also a few attempts that try to go for both. Four Christmases is one of those movies. The movie offers some clever comedic moments with attempts at deep emotion. It takes a fine line to make a heartfelt, yet wild comedy. Four Christmases misses that fine line by a mile.
Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) do not celebrate Christmas with their respective families, usually heading off to exotic vacations while lying to family. This year, their plans come crashing down when their families catch them on the TV news unable to fly out of the airport on Christmas day. Thus, the two head off to four different Christmas gatherings.
The fun in the movie comes from the first visit to Brad’s dad, played by Robert Duvall. The following three family visits get more boring and much less fun. With each visit we find Brad and Kate less interesting and more annoying. By the time things become melodramatic it is hard to care about the troubles of Brad and Kate. Vince Vaughn tries too hard while Reese Witherspoon vainly tries to stretch her flaccid comedy muscle.
Four Christmases is not heading for that list of classic Christmas movies. A few scenes provide the laughs, but the movie can’t hold itself together for its full length. If you are in desperate need of a holiday film, then go see Four Christmases, otherwise put a tried and true holiday film in your DVD player.