Going into this movie I figured that there was no possible way that I could enjoy this one. I was sort of right and sort of wrong. The saving grace of this movie is Vince Vaughn and his banter with Reese Witherspoon. These two have a good on-screen chemistry, but I really wouldn’t want to see them in another movie together. That may be a weird assessment, but I’m sticking to it!
The premise of the movie is fun – Vaughn and Witherspoon are in a long-term relationship, but not married. They habitually avoid visiting their respective families during the Christmas season because they’d rather not share their family stories with each other. Why is the movie called “four” Christmases? Well, it turns out that both of their sets of parents are divorced. In other words, in order to visit their families on Christmas, Vaughn and Witherspoon have to hit four different locations in one day.
For Vaughn, he’s got an alcoholic father and two brothers who are obsessed with ultimate fighting. In fact, they’re so obsessed that they beat the hell out of his each time he comes home. Further, they mock the fact that he pursued a higher education and resent him for his increased income. The funniest part of the movie for me was when Vaughn was being bodyslammed by his brothers and his nephews come into the family room to beat him up, too. I don’t know why, but I got a kick out of that.
Vaughn’s mother left the alcoholic father to run off with someone who just wants to be friends with Vaughn again. Ahem…again. That’s right, Vaughn’s mother ran off with one of his long-time friends! The Director, Seth Gordon, does a great job of making these scenes extra awkward.
As for Witherspoon, her mother has a few sisters who are eager to jump on Vaughn when he enters the house. They’re also not shy about sharing some of Witherspoon’s more embarrassing moments from growing up including her stint at fat camp and the fact that her best friend growing up was a butch lesbian!
Witherspoon’s father, on the other hand, reports that he’s been divorced “multiple” times, but his introduction into the movie also serves to set the stage for the climax. I won’t share the outcome of the movie with you, but suffice to say that the good guys always win in the end and that holds true for this movie, too.
The bottom line is that if you’re into Christmas movies, but are more into the Bad Santa type rather than the Miracle on 34th Street type, then you’ll enjoy this movie. Given the craptastic economy, though, I suggest that you wait until this is available as a cheap rental and not an expensive trip to the movie theater.