Tuesday, February 2, 2010

“Four Christmases” – Blah humbug.

Am I the only one that can’t stand movies where a character (or characters) gets shit on for nearly the entire movie? That’s how I felt about this movie, except not as strongly as other similar movies. My true feeling after seeing this was just blah. I chuckled a couple of times, but overall, this film was not funny. It can barely be characterized as a comedy. Other movies that sucked in this way were “Anger Management” and “Meet the Parents.” “Meet the Parents” was a very successful movie, which I will never be able to understand. For me, these movies come across as extremely awkward and uncomfortable. Obviously, the people who find these films funny also find humor in babies falling out of strollers.

For those of you who didn’t see one of the 18 million previews for this film, let me fill you on the “hilarity.” A dating couple’s Christmas flight to Fiji is cancelled and a news crew shows them on television. Their families, who all just happen to be watching the same channel at the same time, see them and force them to visit their homes. The couple’s parents are all divorced, leading to (you guessed it) four Christmas visits.

From there, the following events transpire. A visit to Vince Vaughn’s dad’s house results in a fire, body slams, and a bashed baby skull. The following visit to Reese Witherspoon’s mom’s house results in a disturbing rendition of the Nativity, baby barf, and a kid sucking on Reese’s used pregnancy test. Then, they go to Vaughn’s mother’s house and play Taboo. Finally, they go to Reese’s dad’s house, break up, and get back together. The end. I told you it was blah.

(I bet you thought that was the end of the review. Come on…that was only three paragraphs. Have I ever written a review that short?)

The problem that this movie had (besides the lack of non-puke humor) was they cast too many well-known actors. Besides Vaughn and Witherspoon, the film featured Sissy Spacek, Robert Duvall, Jon Voight, and Jon Favreau (also, Mary Steenburgen and Colleen Camp for my fellow movie junkies). They even threw in country music singers Tim McGraw and Dwight Youkam. The only recent movies that have been able to pull off ensemble casts (by ensemble, I mean grossly expensive) were “Ocean’s 11” and maybe “Ocean’s 13.”

The problem with these casts is that the directors, producers, and writers spend too much time stroking egos and making sure that every gets their fair share of screen time. What they should be doing for a film like this is casting no-names in every role after Vaughn and Witherspoon. Even without changing the script, the film would have been funnier that way, since no-names have to actually perform to earn their paycheck. Guys like Duvall and Voight can mail in their performances, which they did, and still piss all over the director and producers if their coffee is too cold.

What we are left with is the remaining cast members over-acting to impress the big names, an unimpressive lack of comedy, and two less hours of life than you had before. Merry Christmas.

Rating: Ruin the theater manager’s Christmas by demanding all of your money back.

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