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Reviews on FOUR CHRISTMASES

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    Posted: November 23 2008 at 11:36am

Critics are saying "Bah! Humbug!!" 

Will movie-goers agree?? 

Here's a LINK to read the Rotten Tomatoes reviews on FOUR CHRISTMASES... 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2008 at 10:24pm
More of a Eugene O’Neill horror show than the playful holiday flick its makers evidently intended, Four Christmases will at least feel authentically gruelling to people who already regard December 25 as a long day’s journey into familial dysfunction. Cruel and crude, what passes for humour here — unfunny pratfalls, callbacks to humiliating childhood traumas, potshots at poor white trash, disgust over the notion of geriatric sex and, as the ultimate bottom-scraper, two baby-puke jokes — provides no respite.

No wonder Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn can’t muster much enthusiasm or chemistry as they play Kate and Brad, a San Francisco couple who must visit each of the four households of their divorced parents on Christmas when their plans for a tropical holiday fall through. Tensions surface as they realize how their family issues have affected their own attitudes toward marriage and baby-making. But neither they nor their grotesque relatives — including Robert Duvall as Brad’s mean pa and Mary Steenburgen and Sissy Spacek as their too-hot-to-trot mothers — evince anything resembling authentic human feeling. The continual inability of director Seth Gordon (maker of the doc hit The King of Kong) to successfully orchestrate even the most elementary gag also makes Four Christmases about as appetizing as four consecutive helpings of Jell-O salad.

http://www.eyeweekly.com/film/onscreen/article/45744
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2008 at 10:25pm
A year from now when it’s finally on DVD, someone I know will ask me if I’ve seen Four Christmases. “Four what?” I’ll ask. “Four Christmases,” they’ll say. “The holiday movie with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn.” And I’ll respond, “no never heard of it.” As far as I’ll know that will be the truth, because by then I’ll have forgotten this movie exists. Its cliché collection of bland, formula gags will have long since been replaced in my brain by more worthy memories. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn’s empty, uninteresting characters will have long since vanished from my consciousness.

This is a movie without the decency to be either good or bad, this is a movie which inspires no feelings one way or another. It’s not boring enough to be irritating and not funny enough to be entertaining. It’s just not worth the trouble. The experience of watching it is akin to having a nice nap. When the credits roll you walk out, have a good stretch, and wonder what you’ve been doing for the past ninety minutes. Then you pull the ticket stub out of your pocket and remember, “Oh yeah, that. Hey is the food court still open?”

It’s not really the fault of Witherspoon and Vaughn who are present in every scene and look, in spite of Vince’s increasingly doughy exterior, every bit the movie stars they are. This is a star vehicle if there ever was one, and they do their best to shine. What exactly is it they’re shining for? Not much. They play Brad and Kate, an unmarried, long-term, committed couple happy with the status quo. You know the type, people that unhappy married people with kids love to hate. They have everything going for them. They’re in love, they have a great life, and they see no reason to ruin it by signing a piece of paper at the local courthouse or by popping out an unending stream of kids. Once this is established, we know that by the end of the movie they will be married and impregnated, since this is a Hollywood movie and this sort of childless happiness can not be allowed to stand. It’s not something those unhappily married ticket buyers are willing to accept.

We know where this going and so then it becomes simply a matter of figuring out how we get there. This script gets there by being into a holiday movie. Ah Christmas, what better time to remind selfishly happy people of the importance of family unhappiness. Normally Brad and Kate spend their Christmas avoiding the divorced mess that is their relatives, by taking an exotic beach vacation. This year bad weather cancels their flight forcing them to spend Christmas day driving to visit the four, disparate branches of their kin.

http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Four-Christmases-3534.htm l

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2008 at 10:25pm
After last year's frantically unfunny Fred Claus most of us would be unwilling to unwrap another Christmas-related offering from Vince Vaughn.

This time he and Reese Witherspoon are a couple whose Yuletide plan to top up their tans in Fiji is abruptly cancelled by fog, forcing them to spend Christmas with each of their divorced parents, and their dysfunctional extended family.

Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen and Vaughn's Swingers chum John Favreau also star, but there's more clever comedy being done by birthday-party clowns and teenagers dressed as Amy Winehouse for Halloween parties than this redemptive rom-com.

It's as if everybody involved knows what the deal is: it's November, we shouldn't be at this film, we should be scraping frost from our windscreens or off posting overseas Christmas cards. Bah humbug."

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/entertainment/Film-revi ews-Flawless--Silence.4720197.jp
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2008 at 10:26pm

Variety

The biggest artistic challenge facing first-time feature helmer Seth Gordon in "Four Christmases" was how to photograph co-stars Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in the same frame, as he's about a foot and a half taller than she is. It's a dilemma the director never really solves in this oddly misanthropic, occasionally amusing but thoroughly cheerless holiday attraction that is in no way a family film, but will no doubt be mistaken for such by many unsuspecting patrons. Given the cast and comic expectations, commercial results should be moderately bright, at least initially, for this New Line venture inherited by Warner Bros.

Vaughn is his usual motor-mouthed, preoccupied self, although less antic and vulgar and more polite and considerate than his norm. Breaking type here is Witherspoon, who abandons her perky, upbeat image for the brittle, somewhat chilly piece of work that is Kate. With all the scripts doubtless at her doorstep in the wake of her "Walk the Line" triumph, it's a wonder she chose this one, which in no way relies upon her special talents and does her no particular favors.

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117939094.html?categoryid=3 1&cs=1&nid=2562

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2008 at 10:27pm
Although it starts out as a zippy holiday comedy "Four Christmases" loses focus and disperses into a less than satisfying comic experience.

Anti-Christmas San Francisco yuppies Brad and Kate (played by Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon) have a tradition of spending the holidays in tropical locales in order to avoid their dysfunctional families. Heavy airport fog and a roving television crew instigate the couple into make the rounds at the homes of their respective families. First on their list is Brad's unkind father Howard (played by Robert Duval) and Brad's mixed martial arts practicing brothers. Slapstick physical comedy ensues and it's off to mom's house where Sissy Spacek plays Brad's sexually adventurous mother who has taken up with Brad's former best friend. Perhaps funny on paper, the segment falters and cracks in the script give way to some more uncomfortable than hilarious moments with Kate's batch of man-hungry kin she appropriately identifies as "cougars" try to sink their teeth into Brad.

"Four Christmases" is a sporadically funny movie that never quite comes together.

http://www.colesmithey.com/capsules/2008/11/four-christmases .html
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2008 at 10:35pm

Hollywood Reporter

Bottom Line: A top-drawer cast in a bottom-drawer screenplay

The misanthropic Christmas movie has become a holiday staple thanks to film executives who misread the success of "Bad Santa." This season it falls to Warner Bros.' "Four Christmases" to deliver a quadruple dose of dysfunctional family hijinks to genuinely dispiriting results. Bad enough to create one of the most joyless Christmas movies ever, but then to go for an unearned feel-good ending adds insult to injury.

A remarkably large name cast ensures opening-weekend interest. By the time Christmas arrives, boxoffice numbers probably will hit middle range.

Thus a cast that collectively has earned 18 Oscar nominations with five wins is assembled for a script that probably would have been better served by unknowns. At least the slapstick fights, pratfalls and regurgitation might have come off as a spoof of a Sundance dysfunctional family film. The approach by all supporting actors save for Voight is an exaggeration belonging more to the world of cartoons.

The script by the writing teams of Matt R. Allen & Caleb Wilson and Jon Lucas & Scott Moore essentially situates Hollywood cliches about Southern rednecks incongruously within the tony Bay Area. All homesteads are fussy, sometimes opulent affairs that don't mesh with the seeming lack of earning potential by any parents or siblings. For director Seth Gordon, who received good notices for his documentary "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters," "Four Christmases" represents a less-than-auspicious feature debut.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film/reviews/article_dis play.jsp?&rid=11985

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2008 at 10:35pm
BROADLY speaking, Osama bin Laden is a bad man.

But if he ever did drum up a global jihad and put infidels to death by fire and the sword there would be one silver lining. We’d never have to watch another Vince Vaughn Christmas film ever again.

Four Christmases. It’s not quite as bad as Fred Claus. But it’s so pant-soilingly awful, it doesn’t even deserve the usual turkey gag.

Despite being long-term partners, Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon haven’t met each other’s parents. So, due to a laboured set-up, they visit all four on Christmas Day—which for the purposes of this film is about 72 hours long.

And mindless aggro ensues— times four.

The list of disasters throughout this unfunny car wreck of a film is long and alarming. But I did laugh uncontrollably once. So thank you, Vince and Reese, for your rotten acting during the serious bit.

http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/incoming/81055/Four-Christma ses-Review-by-Robbie-Collin.html
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 24 2008 at 10:40am

Review: 'Four Christmases' is zero fun

The size difference between Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon isn't the only thing keeping them apart in "Four Christmases."

His signature rat-a-tat overconfidence and her pleasing girl-next-door perkiness turns out to be an awkward mix. Individually likable, Vaughn and Witherspoon never really seem to mesh as a couple.

That's a problem, since we're meant to root for them to stick together. It doesn't help that they're saddled with hackneyed holiday gags: wacky relatives making inappropriate remarks, decorations that cause severe bodily harm, obnoxious kids, uncomfortable gift exchanges.

And "Four Christmases" began with some promise, too.

Vaughn's Brad and Witherspoon's Kate are a happily unmarried couple sharing a coolly industrial-chic house in San Francisco. They like to keep things lively by role-playing at bars, as they do in the film's amusingly naughty opening, and they lie to their families about doing charity work each year to avoid seeing them during the holidays.

So far, so good.

Then, when they're caught live on the news getting stuck at the airport on the way to Fiji, they get roped into seeing both sets of parents, who are divorced, hence Brad and Kate's own apprehension about walking down the aisle. And so they must celebrate -- let's all say it together -- four Christmases.

The visiting begins in painfully broad fashion with Brad's family, all white-trash stereotypes led by Robert Duvall. (Vaughn's longtime friend and collaborator, a freakishly muscular Jon Favreau, and Tim McGraw play his ultimate-fighter brothers.) The noisy joylessness of this segment sets the tone for the whole movie, and it makes you wonder how it's possible that it took four screenwriters to come up with this stuff.

Next, they're off to see Kate's mom (Mary Steenburgen), who's found the Lord now that she's involved with a rock-star preacher (Dwight Yoakam, underused). Kristin Chenoweth plays her smugly married-with-children older sister in a perfect bit of casting; it's amazing she and Witherspoon never shared the screen before. It's also amazing that, after dating for three years, neither Kate nor Brad has met the other's family until now.

The third stop is at Brad's mom's house, and speaking of a complete waste of talent, Sissy Spacek gets to do little but beam benignly as a rich Marin County hippie. Finally, they end up at the upscale home of Kate's father (Jon Voight), but by then the couple's relationship is hanging by a thread. After attempting to offend us in every imaginable way, "Four Christmases" has the chutzpah to try tugging at our hearts, with a half-baked conflict about Kate's sudden desire to get married and start a family -- as if any of their hideous visits would inspire such an instinct.

Vaughn makes the movie tolerable here and there, but this kind of slapsticky physical comedy doesn't suit Witherspoon at all. Director Seth Gordon, making his feature debut following the critically acclaimed documentary "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters," fails to make optimal use of the qualities that make this bright actress shine.

It isn't funny when a baby spits up on her the first time; then again, it would be a lame joke regardless of who was covered in yack.

"Four Christmases," a New Line Cinema release, is rated PG-13 for some sexual humor and language. Running time: 88 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/entertainment/2008/11/24/D94LJ 1FO0_film_review_four_christmases/index.html

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TonyT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 24 2008 at 10:44am

Four rounds of family festivities produce very little merriment for either its protagonists or audiences as holiday season romantic comedy Four Christmases slogs its way through a sub-90 minute running time. The pairing of Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon and the presence of an impressive supporting cast of veteran performers will probably get this Warner-distributed New Line/Spyglass production a sizeable and demographically broad opening weekend audience. After that, though, a couple of years as seasonal video and TV filler seems like the best prospect.

In the US, Warner will get a jump on other holiday season releases by opening the film (with a PG-13 rating) over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The timing, wide release pattern and marquee names should result in a decent debut, even with high profile melodrama Australia as competition.

Openings in most major international markets come between now and the New Year. But with neither star being as much of a draw outside the US, the eventual international take is likely to be relatively meagre.

Appropriately enough it took four screenwriters – Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (Rebound) and the previously unproduced team of Matt R Allen and Caleb Wilson – to shape the story of happily unmarried and childless couple Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon).

Though they usually avoid their families by taking exotic winter vacations, this year Brad and Kate get cornered into visiting all four of their respective parents on Christmas Day. A bruising visit to Brad's father Howard (Robert Duvall) is followed by a few embarrassing hours with Kate's mother Marilyn (Mary Steenburgen) and an exasperating afternoon with Brad's mum Paula (Sissy Spacek). It's during the last stop-off, with Kate's dad Creighton (Jon Voight), that the by-now not-speaking couple begin to see the error of their ways and start making plans for a new life.

Making his narrative feature directing debut, Seth Gordon, who came to attention with last year's acclaimed documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, acquits himself reasonably well. But the script gives him much less to work with than he had in the real-life drama and comedy of his earlier film.

The four-part structure of the story is supposed to gradually reveal Brad and Kate to each other, but it seems just as much an excuse to try out every family Christmas cliche in the book, from randy grandmas and spoiled kids to trouble-causing gifts and games that dissolve in acrimony.

The humour is consistently broad and brutal, favouring basic slapstick and easy targets. Then, in the story's last chapter, the tone shifts abruptly and not very credibly to warm and fuzzy.

Vaughn works hard to inject some life into the proceedings and his moments of apparently improvised comedy produce the few real laughs on offer.

In her first rom-com since 2005's Just Like Heaven, Witherspoon seems as uncomfortable in her role as her character is spending Christmas with the in-laws. And there's a notable lack of chemistry between the two leads in their one-on-one scenes together.

The supporting cast – which also includes Vaughn's regular collaborator Jon Favreau and country music stars Dwight Yoakam and Tim McGraw – is never used to its full potential, though Duvall and Spacek make game attempts.

http://www.screendaily.com/ScreenDailyArticle.aspx?intStoryI D=42119

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Post Options Post Options   Quote dEd Grimley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2008 at 1:49pm
Maybe they should start putting out these Christmas movies as "Direct-to-Comedy-Central," and aired in conjunction with Juwanna Mann.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote valid_face Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 18 2008 at 7:46pm
TFC is not a total wreck. It's still fun actually. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon is still herself.

By the way, I came into this site wherein the two mentioned stars along with co-star Robert Duvall are seen dancing to a catchy holiday music. Go check that out.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dEd Grimley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 19 2008 at 5:45am

I hope you're joking about this being entertainment...

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote gatorgirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 31 2008 at 3:35pm
Granted this movie had the frequent "Three Stooges" humor, but I have to confess that I found myself laughing outloud at several scenes.

Maybe my expectations were low going into it, just looking for a way to pass a couple of hours on New Year's Eve. But a couple of scenes created a belly laugh, like the $10 gift rule, fat baby pics, chasing down the EPT "marker", family playing Taboo together...

There was some (OK a smidgen) evolution in the movie. The first family Christmas was a circus, but they got more respectable as the day went on.

At the end, instead of Reese and Vince's characters being alone at the hospital, it would have been nice for all the families to have been outside the door to show a little character development. And it would have been hilarious to name the baby "Fiji".

   

   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lois7375 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2009 at 10:14pm
I was just read around here again, the first time since ages when i saw this great review on Four Christmases.
It just make me think again of christmas when i wanted to buy this movie for my mum but i was so not sure about it which is why i decided to buy her some amazing chocolate!
If i would have read this review before I might have decided differently that time.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dEd Grimley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2009 at 12:35am
I'm sure chocolate has more lasting entertainment value. A single Hersey Kiss, even.
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