Another year goes by and another Christmas-based film
appears in the cinemas. This year Vince Vaughn
tries again (after last year’s Fred Claus) accompanied by the very bland Reese Witherspoon
Directed by Seth Gordon
(the man responsible for The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters). It marks a change of pace
for Mr Gordon it seems, as The King of Kong claimed to be a documentary and this.....well, it claims to be a Christmas movie. A family film it is not though, with one of the first lines being “you sure can talk, you crazy little slut”. This concerned me. How many adults / teenagers go to see Christmas movies? Surely the target demographic would be children?
A couple struggle to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas Day after their vacation plans abroad go awry.
What is it with Vince Vaughn that makes him a most unlikeable character? Is it because whenever he is on screen, his characters are always talking as if he requires his vocal chords to have continuous exercise
to sustain his life? Whatever the awful excuse you want to give for him, he comes across as a man who (much like Seth Rogan
) finds himself much more amusing than the audience. The best film I have ever seen him in, was Dodgeball and that was only because his character was tame (in comparison to the other nutters onscreen).
Reese Witherspoon is equally unlikeable onscreen. The best film I have seen of hers was Sweet Home Alabama
and that was mediocre at best. This is clearly not a good start. Although if you were to watch the trailers you may think that they have chosen both of these actors to play unlikable characters. Sadly, by Vaughn and Witherspoon being the protagonists you are stuck with them.
The whole concept of Four Christmases is doomed from the beginning. You are catering to an audience that just wouldn’t go and pay to see it at Christmas time along with trying to squeeze in four different group introductions
into a meagre
88 minutes. Strangely, this runtime seems far too long as you have long given up getting to know any of the characters because they disappear so quickly into the proceedings. What amazes me is how they hired reputable actors into this garbage. Four Christmases stars Robert Duvall, Jon Voight, Sissy Spacek (of Carrie fame) and Mary Steenburgen. Stranger than the rest of these castings is that of Jon Favreau! What is he doing starring in this? Okay, so he is the funniest part of the film by far, but shouldn’t he be getting busy with sorting out Iron Man 2?
As you watch Witherspoon and Vaughn stumble through their lines it is clear that they care little for the content and much more about the pay check. Well this (I hope) is worth it because I am sorely disappointed with the result. Neither of them can muster any chemistry at all. Their acting in the film couldn’t out-dramatise my 8 year old nephew and their dynamic with the camera is much like them looking straight down the lens and saying “look at me.. I’m on screen now. Pay attention”. Instead of “acting” emotion they both have to describe it. Imagine if you are a director and want to make your stars act “happy”. You’d describe to them the scene and they would smile or laugh OR ANYTHING! Vaughn and Witherspoon in the same situation would keep their faces deadpan and exclaim (in a monotone and unconvincing voice) “I am so happy”. This is not acting. This is insulting. If Mr Vaughn and Ms Witherspoon ever consider “acting” in this manner again I will not waste my time (or money) going to see them. Pathetic!
All of the "jokes" in the film are tiring and predictable. Nothing is new and you sit there asking yourself why you have paid to see this, when you could have written a better script.
God only knows why you’d want a conclusion after that, but here it goes...IT WAS RUBBISH! Awful, disappointing, a waste of my time and a waste of your time. It’ll ruin your Christmas as it is the opposite of good cheer! This is the type of film that makes you wonder where the budget went. It would be more plausible to assume that the whole cast had taken the budget and gone on a 30 day bender around the globe drinking in every bar they passed; only allowing 3 days of filming. The fact that I have spent 20 minutes writing this review is another waste of my life that I will not get back and that makes me more annoyed. I am disgusted that Seth Gordon (the creator of The King of Kong) has made this complete and utter tripe!
Rating: 0.5 out of 5
(It was really that bad!)