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  Publicity Stills of
"Four Christmases"
(Courtesy of Warner Bros)

Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Voight, Sissy Spacek
RunTime: 1 hr 22 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.fourchristmasesmovie.com/

Opening Day: 27 November 2008


When upscale, happily unmarried San Francisco couple Kate and Brad find themselves socked in by fog on Christmas morning, their exotic vacation plans morph into the family-centric holiday they had, until now, gleefully avoided. Out of obligation—and unable to escape—they trudge to not one, not two, but four relative-choked festivities, increasingly mortified to find childhood fears raised, adolescent wounds reopened... and their very future together uncertain. As Brad counts the hours to when he can get away from their parents, step-parents, siblings and an assortment of nieces and nephews, Kate is starting to hear the ticking of a different kind of clock. And by the end of the day, she is beginning to wonder if their crazy families' choices are not so crazy after all.

Movie Review:

Vince Vaughn appears to be the Hollywood go-to guy to spread the proverbial holiday cheer. Fresh off being Santa Claus’ bitter older brother Fred Claus, here he is again in another Christmas-schmaltzy movie.

Yes, if there’s one thing Vince Vaughn wants to impress on you dearly, it’s that Christmas is all about the family. Indeed, he goes from one unusual family in Fred Claus to four almost downright dysfunctional families in Four Christmases (and hence the title).

Gone are the days when people got married and stuck together for life. Among the pair of lovers, Brad and Kate (played by Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon), there are four separate families, courtesy as the poster will tell you, of his father, her mother, his mother and her father.

If your parents were as divided as theirs are, you’ll probably do what the pair have been doing for the past three years too- pretend to be doing charity work in some far flung corner of the earth and skip the perfunctory Christmas family visits and get-togethers. After all, as Brad puts it, you can’t spell families without “lies”.

So lie they do, telling their parents that they are in Burma inoculating babies, when off they go enjoying their annual getaway in Fiji. Unfortunately, their holiday plans this year have been thwarted by heavy fog, and worse still, a live television crew interviewing them stranded at the airport. No sooner after they realise the implications of being seen dressed in their Hawaiian beachware live on national television do they receive calls from all four sets of parents.

And hence commences their most dreaded holiday nightmares. At this point, you’ll probably guess how it will unfold. Each will learn facts about the other’s past that they would have rather stayed hidden (like how Brad’s real name is Orlando, him and his brothers named after the city they were conceived in), and realise that maybe there were things missing in their “let’s not get married or have babies and remain status quo” relationship.

Predictable as it may be, there is plenty of fun to be had here thanks to an outstanding ensemble supporting cast. Brad’s redneck dad (Robert Duvall) and cage-fighting brothers (Jon Favreau and Tim McGraw) demonstrate a good time by wrestling him to the ground, and twisting his limbs in ways that will make you squirm in your seat.

Next up is Kate’s mother (Mary Steenburgen) from whom Brad learns about Kate’s none-too glamorous past, and whose current fascination with preacher Pastor Phil (Dwight Yoakam) lands both Brad and Kate in the lead roles of Joseph and Mary at a hilarious re-enactment of the nativity story.

Not forgetting Brad’s hippie mother (Sissy Spacek) whose boyfriend just happens to be Brad’s childhood friend and finally culminating with Kate’s father (Jon Voight) who is probably the most sensible and normal parent among them all. He advises Kate on how to make sense of family and family life, his words of wisdom gleaned from his very own experience.

Each of the veteran cast members take a break from their usual serious roles and are here to spread some good old holiday cheer no matter how exaggerated their characters may be. No less Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon who share great chemistry as a couple. They keep the pace of the movie energetic and spunky with their lively, and sometimes improvised, performances.

Even if the happy ending seems a little too forced and tacked on, there still is more than enough cheers and laughs here to put you in the spirit of the season. So bring on the figgy pudding and eggnog and let Four Christmases show you a merry merry good time at the movies this Christmas!

Movie Rating:

(Funnier than you’d expect it to be- there’s more than enough naughty and nice parts here to spread the ho ho ho-liday cheer)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. Fred Claus (2007)

. Deck the Halls (2006)

. Penelope (2006)

. The Break Up (2006)

. Wedding Crashers (2005)

. The Polar Express (2005)

. Noel (2004)

. The Santa Claus 3 DVD (2006)




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