In the last week, I've seen seven Oscar contenders and several other quality movies on DVD. Not surprisingly, one film stood in contrast to the rest: Four Christmases, one of the most God-awful movies I've seen this year.
To get right to the point, Vince Vaughn should never be allowed to do a Christmas movie again. I'm a big fan of the actor, but Fred Claus was a disaster - and Four Christmases makes Fred Claus look like Best Picture of the Year. In the movie, Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play a loving, unmarried couple who attempt to skip town during the holidays. But when a storm grounds their flight, they are forced to go visit their four divorced parents - hence the title. The result: a painfully unfunny series of gags and one-liners that neither enhance the holiday spirit nor entertain in any shape or form.
Four Christmases has a great cast, which makes it all the sadder. How director Seth Gordon, who had only directed the documentary The King of Kong before this, was put in charge of such a tent pole release is baffling enough, but the fact that the studio put such trust in first-time writers Matt Allen and Caleb Wilson is the confusing part. The movie reminds me of my attempts to write a slapstick comedy screenplay as a kid: I had all these great ideas floating around in my head, but when put to paper everything comes out as cliché and starkly unfunny.
The movie is an unmitigated disaster. Not only is it set in Los Angeles - the ugliest city on the planet (hence, not the best city for a Christmas movie) - but it is so blatantly bad on all levels it's amazing New Line Cinema every greenlit the picture.
Its only saving grace is the baby puking scene, but even that is much funnier in the movie trailer (and free to watch).
Four Christmases is a terrible movie, lacking holiday cheer and, more importantly, any sense of good comedy. Apparently the writers are working on a new movie called Tough Love; if Four Christmases is any indication, I'd stay well clear.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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