Usually I’m skeptical of any holiday movie that comes along, as most consist of dysfunctional family humor that is either unoriginal or simply not funny. While Four Christmases definitely followed the same holiday theme, it still had the ability to make me laugh out loud. Starring Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen, Tim McGraw and Jon Favreau, it’s safe to say the cast is what kept this movie afloat.
“His father, her mother, his mother and her father…All in one day,” is the movie’s tagline. Indeed, Four Christmases is about couple Kate and Brad (played by Witherspoon and Vaughn), who, together for three years, are happy simply living their lives and don’t feel the need to let children or marriage complicate things. To get out of having Christmas with their divorced parents, they tell their families every year that they’re helping underprivileged kids in poor countries, when really they’re vacationing in an exotic country. This year, however, their flight is canceled and they are forced to go home for the holidays.
From here, Brad and Kate venture to see each of their individual parents, (Kate’s played by Steenburgen and Voight and Brad’s played by Duvall and Spacek.) After meeting each other’s families, it becomes clear that the couple truly doesn’t know anything about each other, beyond the time they spent together. This worries Kate, who then gives Brad the ultimatum of “moving to the next step” or breaking up.
The best parts of the movie are the ones with Vaughn, McGraw and Favreau (the latter two, who play Brad’s brothers), and this should be no surprise with Vaughn’s comedic reputation. Specifically, Favreau (who plays a trained UFC fighter) holding Vaughn in a headlock screaming “Soulja Boy!” is probably the funniest, most memorable scene of the movie. (Also, any movie with friends Vaughn and Favreau is usually pretty great… Remember Swingers?)
Overall, Four Christmases is definitely one of the more tolerable holiday movies. (Speaking of which, guess who is executive producer and plays a small role in the film? None other than Peter Billingsley… Hint: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”).
Four Christmases is rated PG-13. The widescreen and full-screen edition also contains a bonus digital copy of the film’s theatrical version.