I may not be the best person to listen to when it comes to getting an opinion about the latest Yuletide season’s film offerings. I have two favorite holidays – Halloween and Christmas. I know, it seems strange. Two holidays that are pretty much polar oppossites as far as theme goes. That’s just the way it is. Of course, it being the holidays and all, my wife and I chose to see Four Christmases for our date night, which we get very few of. After muddling through one terrible new romantic comedy trailer after the next, they did finally show one that was actually somewhat entertaining for Yes Man. After that, the film got started and rolled along quite well.
We meet Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, who play a couple that don’t believe in marriage and feel that they should float through their relationship freely, doing what they want to do instead of succumbing to the world view of what is right in wrong and expected. It is explained that the two lie to their families every year and go on a trip for themselves at Christmas. They do this by telling their families that they are performing different Peace Corp type work in different parts of the world, even going to such extremes as learning some of the language. Unfortunately for the couple, though, the weather takes a change for the worse on the day of their departure and they end up stuck in the airport. After being interviewed by a TV newscaster about how the delay has affected their plans, both of them get calls on their cell phones simultaneously from their parents (who both are divorced and with new partners). Having been put on the spot, the two agree to go to their parent’s four different houses for the holidays instead. Thus, the insanity begins.
The film has a great supporting cast which includes Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Jon Favreau. The situations that the two find themselves in with their parents are both humorous and at times possibly a little too realistic. I found Reese and Vince to be very convincing as the couple and none of their performance together seemed staged or forced. There were some points in the film that were maybe a little uncomfortable and for some may hit a little too close to home. Some of the situations definitely left me kind of cringing, thinking how Vaughn had just made a grave error in the way he handled a situation and was going to pay the consequences.
In the grand scheme of things, and as Christmas holiday films come, Four Christmases is definitely one of the keepers. It brings up good life lessons that everyone should go through and learn from. It explores everything from hiding from your childhood and past, being honest in your relationships, the importance of family, and dealing with split families. If you’re looking for a good movie to take your significant other to for the holiday season, you might want to take her to see this. Be warned, though – if he / she wants kids or a commitment, you better get ready to get the “looks” or talked to after and during the movie.