“Every Christmas happily unmarried 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’s relationship survive Four Christmases?”
“Four Christmases” is rated PG-13 for some sexual humor and language.
Anybody that is married will appreciate “Four Christmases.” Each holiday you’re required to uproot yourself from your daily life and spend time with the in-laws and out-laws. This movie covers everything that goes along with that. Sometimes that means seeing your significant other transformed into the person they were before you met. Sometimes it means dealing with siblings you still have issues with. Sometimes it means dealing with nieces and nephews. Sometimes it means dealing with all the extra baggage that comes with family. “Four Christmases” covers all of that.
Many holiday comedies would settle for just creating this anarchy at one household. By a clever series of mishaps, Kate and Brad are forced to deal with it at four households on the same day. This allows them to encounter four very different and very funny situations. At Brad’s father’s house, he’s assaulted by his older brothers and his cranky father. At Kate’s mother’s house, Brad is assaulted by her cougar mother and aunts while her biological clock is set off by her sister. They are then shanghaied into a nativity play at a mega-church that her mother attends. At Brad’s mother’s house, Brad must face his hippie mother and her boyfriend… who happens to be Brad’s childhood friend. Things finally settle down at Kate’s father’s house and it is almost anti-climactic after everything else.
This film has a really strong cast. Vince Vaughn as Brad and Reese Witherspoon as Kate make a great comedy pair. As different as they are in height, they make up for it in chemistry. They are very easy for the audience to identify with even though their anti-marriage, anti-kid, anti-in-laws stance could initially be off-putting. Playing their dysfunctional family are Robert Duvall as a redneck man with an aversion to change, Sissy Spacek as the hippie mom, Jon Voight as Kate’s father, and Mary Steenburgen as the born again Christian / cougar. Jon Favreau is hilariously menacing as Denver, Brad’s violent older brother. Katy Mixon is also great as his very pregnant and very white-trash wife Susan. Kristin Chenoweth (from “Pushing Daisies”) is also great as Courtney, Kate’s older sister who has the kids that set off the biological clock.
Three quarters of this movie is really funny, but it kind of runs out of steam towards the end. But other than that, this is a funny holiday comedy that I recommend checking out over the holiday season. I think you’ll find it to be a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately, they opted not to include any bonus features on this DVD. No commentary, deleted scenes, or anything. What a bunch of Grinches!