Every Christmas happily unmarried couples Brad and Kate escape divorced parents and exasperating relatives by getting on a plane. This year a fog rolls in that even Rudolph's nose couldn't illuminate, the airport shuts down and the couple is forced to celebrate four family Christmases in one hectic, hilarious day. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon lead an all-star cast in a comedy brimming with good cheer and great laughs: Brad learns how not to install a satellite dish, Kate battles an army of naughty-list kids in an inflatable Christmas castle and the two fill in for no-shows Mary and Joseph in a wacky holiday pageant. Can Brad and Kate survive Four Christmases?
Like it or not, what’s Christmas without a Christmassy movie?
Released theatrically a year ago and unleashed on home video recently in time for the festive season is "Four Christmases", a madcap rom-com holiday movie starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon and a bunch of creditable, veteran actors including Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, and Mary Steenburgen.
Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon) is a pair of fun-loving couple who has no intention of getting married let alone having any kids. Instead of visiting their parents, their plan is to spend Christmas in Fiji, just the two of them. Now I wouldn’t blame them for being so 'selfish' if you have a father (Duvall) who sees you as a weak sissy and two psychotic, wanna-be UFC brothers, Denver and Dallas and a mother (Spacek) who is now cohabiting with your once best friend while the mother of your other half is a lusty cougar (Steenburgen).
Unlike wholesome family comedies such as "Elf" and the now classic holiday movie (for adults), "Love Actually", "Four Christmases" strives very much to be a well-meaning holiday movie but comes out as a rather lame attempt in cashing on the holiday spirit. The various characters portrayed here are an unfortunate bunch of idiots and a collage of television/motion pictures' misfits that seem more fitting for a Happy Madison production. Seriously, I will go for Brad and Kate’s decision to go Fiji anytime if not for the untimely fog.
The comedy here is pure slapstick with a combination of physical comedy courtesy of Brad’s dumb-ass brothers (the multi-faucet Jon Favreau and Tim McGraw) and Brad himself who falls hard while adjusting his dad’s satellite dish. And Kate? She has to battle her demon niece in a 'Jump Jump' and subjects herself to constant jibes from her mum and horny sister. The comedy runs at a break neck speed that the nice little touches for example beneath the loving couple comes their lack of communication which they learnt during the whole process of house visits is unfulfilling.
Not mentioning the bunch of veterans, Vince Vaughn has been in better rom-com projects such as "The Breakup" with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon has been on the roll since what, "Legally Blonde". But in "Four Christmases", the duo is reduced to paper-thin caricatures shouting in Brad’s SUV for most of the time anyway and bullied by groups of horrible, bizarre people, read: Family.
The movie could simply get away as a hilarious rom-com given the numerous funny gags and crude comedy factor that bombards you the moment the movie opens but when you disguised it as a Christmas movie with a whole lot of big names in it, we deserved more than simply a typical dysfunctional family comedy. Strictly not the material for the whole family after X’mas dinner and definitely not as Christmassy as advertised.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There’s a bunch of Deleted Scenes that last 8 minutes (including one showing Kate’s mum lusting her equally sleazy pastor) followed by a Gag Reel runs which clocks 3 minutes and you might giggle at some of Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau’s outtakes.
The DVD is presented in widescreen version. There is nothing to complain about the picture quality on the whole nor is it exceptional outstanding. The Dolby Digital 5.1 has little to show as it’s primarily a modest, dialogue-filled movie.
by Linus Tee
Posted on 14 December 2009