So, in recent years, there has become a propensity to release a certain type of film in the run up to Christmas. The last few years has settled into the “adult alternative to soppy Christmas films” – think Office Christmas Party or The Night Before – and the “ensemble grown-up dysfunctional family film” – Christmas With The Coopers or Almost Christmas. Of course, the irony is that these films positioning themselves as alternatives are the ones that actually make it into the cinemas, while the supposedly traditional soppy rom-coms and family movies send up going straight to DVD or as TV movies. Anyway, I decided it’s about time I had another rom com.
And today it’s…
15th December, Day 46
Four Christmases (Seth Gordon, 2008)
Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are Brad and Kate, a well to do, modern couple, who live in San Francisco having date nights and doing activities together as a couple. When another couple at a ballroom dancing class asks when they are getting married, Brad and Kate have a list of reasons why they don’t ever want to get married or have children. They plan on going on holiday to Fiji for Christmas, and tell their families that they are going to do charity work as an excuse to be able to go. They have done this for the previous three years, however when fog strikes San Francisco and all flights are grounded, they are forced to stay at home. Even worse, they are caught on the news report, meaning their families know they are home for Christmas!
So, for the first time in a long time, Brad and Kate have to spend Christmas with their various divorced parents. First Brad’s father (Robert Duvall), followed by Kate’s mother (Elf’s Mary Steenburgen), then Brad’s mother (Sissy Spacek) and Kate’s father (Jon Voight). Can they survive four Christmases in one day? Will they learn anything at all? And can they put anyone but themselves first for just one day?
Christmas With The Coopers was a pretty poor film that squandered a talented cast. Four Christmases does that even worse. Reese Witherspoon knows how to make a romantic comedy and Vince Vaughn is entertaining when he stretches himself. But this is just a poor movie. The director also made Horrible Bosses, and although that’s not a great film, I would definitely rewatch that, and it’s vastly inferior sequel, over this.
My main problem is that Brad and Kate just aren’t real people. They are the type of couple who only exist in films – their lives are far too perfect. They have built a life for themselves, and have no intention of ever getting married or having children – that’s all ok. And they have bad relationships with their parents – again, ok. But they deliberately lie to their families and avoid spending time with them at Christmas? They simply don’t understand why two colleagues put up with their families at Christmas? Not going to see your divorced parents at Christmas for years and years? These are just conceits put together for the narrative of the film, and tips them over into selfishness and spitefulness. I want them to have a bad Christmas. In fact, where’s Goldberg’s Santa from yesterday when you need him?
No rom, very little com.
Overall, I give this
I got annoyed by this film early on and never got back on board, despite some admittedly entertaining moments. Well, one, with Jon Favreau playing Taboo.
Tonight I plan on seeing Rogue One, but unless there’s a plot twist I really don’t see coming, that’s not a Christmas film, so tomorrow I’ll be back with Nic Cage and THE FAMILY MAN
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppets Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way
30th November, Day 31: Rare Exports
1st December, Day 32: Polar Express
2nd December, Day 33: A Christmas Story
3rd December, Day 34: Bad Santa
4th December, Day 35: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
5th December, Day 36: Santa Claus: The Movie
6th December, Day 37: Krampus
7th December, Day 38: Christmas With The Kranks
8th December, Day 39: White Christmas
9th December, Day 40: A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
10th December, Day 41: Christmas With The Coopers
11th December, Day 42: Fred Claus
12th December, Day 43: Santa’s Little Helper
13th December, Day 44: Santa With Muscles
14th December, Day 45: Santa’s Slay
15th December, Day 46: Four Christmases