Four Christmases Movie Review

Before a single joke is told, Seth Gordon's Four Christmases earns a positive grade for its inspired casting.

I'm not talking about Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, who are asked to do what they've done in previous comedies, and happily oblige. Vaughn, in particular, continues to ride that motor-mouthed ego shtick of his with very humorous results. His condescending personality should have worn out its welcome shortly after Wedding Crashers, yet somehow it still manages to entertain.

No, my mind remains boggled by the silver-screen legends, music-business superstars, A-list directors, and one-hit wonders who have agreed to tag along for this formulaic but surprisingly funny holiday comedy about a self-centered California couple (Vaughn, Witherspoon) forced to spend Christmas with their respective families when fog cancels their trip to Fiji.

Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek endure light humiliation as Vaughn's divorced folks. They're joined by fellow Academy Award-winners Mary Steenburgen and Jon Voight, equally good sports playing Witherspoon's parents. And let's not forget, Reese has her own golden boy on the mantle at home.

But the hardware hardly stops there. Three-time Grammy winner Tim McGraw plays Vaughn's brother Dallas, an amateur UFC fighter. Tony Award winner Kristen Chenoweth pops by as Witherspoon's sex-crazed sister. That's Dwight Yoakam cast as a boisterous preacher. Oh yeah, and a slimmed-down Jon Favreau sports a muscular build and steals scenes as Vaughn's other brother, Denver. Sure, these two go way back, but Favreau's a made man in Hollywood after directing the mega-hit Iron Man and certainly doesn't need the paycheck.

Vaughn reportedly tapped Gordon to direct Christmases after catching his debut feature The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a snarky documentary about a determined suburban dad named Steve Wiebe obsessed with obtaining the highest recorded Donkey Kong score. Gordon's transition to scripted features isn't exactly smooth. His timing is off on the script's physical humor (of which there is plenty). He doesn't go out of his way to visually stimulate the dialogue. He essentially points the camera at his cast and asks them to do the heavy lifting. Lucky for him, they do.

It's worth mentioning that, in keeping with the Christmases theme, Wiebe also cameos in this film as Witherspoon's brother-in-law. It's a nice gesture on Gordon's part, a subtle payback for the success he gleaned off Wiebe's video-game accomplishments. Granted, Wiebe doesn't get a single spoken line. Instead he is holding an Xbox controller in an early scene, a clever nod to the duo's cinematic roots, which are intertwined. It's yet another surreal touch in this offbeat and frequently amusing comedy.

There's five more where that came from.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Comments

Four Christmases Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, 2008

Advertisement

More Vince Vaughn

Rachel McAdams In 'True Detective 2' Talks & Other Cast Rumours

Rachel McAdams is rumoured to be in talks with the makers of the second series of True Detective. The 35-year-old Canadian actor is not the...

Meet The (Probable) Cast of True Detective Season 2

The True Detective season 2 plot has been shrouded in secrecy since Nic Pizzolato announced the follow up to the ground-breaking HBO drama, though, in...

Will Vince Vaughn Really Lead 'True Detective' Season 2?

Vince Vaughn, the Hollywood actor primarily known for a string of blockbuster comedies including Wedding Crashers and The Breakup, is in negotiations to join HBO...

Delivery Man: Do remakes really work?

Barely two years after the French-language Canadian comedy Starbuck became a sleeper hit, writer-director Ken Scott was hired by Hollywood to shoot an American remake...

Advertisement

Delivery Man Movie Review

In remaking his 2011 French Canadian surprise hit Starbuck, filmmaker Ken Scott doesn't really try to do anything new. Aside from transplanting the story to...

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Trailer

The legend of San Diego's Channel 4 news team may have long since dissolved over the years, but anchors Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland...

'Hunger Games' Comes Good, 'Catching Fire' Sparks Big Box Office Numbers

As expected, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire dominated this weekend’s US box office with a dominant performance. Jennifer Lawrence n' co managed to break November...

Vince Vaughn's 533 Sprogs in 'Delivery Man' Is, Basically, Impossible

Vince Vaughn plays the biological father to 533 children in his latest movie, Delivery Man. And while the plot doesn’t dictate that a great deal...

Advertisement