Four Christmases


Directed by: Seth Gordon
Written by:Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen
Released: December 4, 2008
Grade: C+

When this film was released in the United States and the United Kingdom last week, the title was Four Christmases.  Here in Australia, the title is Four Holidays.  I’ve been asking around but no one can give me a straight answer.  What’s the deal?  Is this political correctness gone mad?  Are people going to avoid this film because it has the word Christmas in the title?  The movie is exactly the same as that which was released overseas so I just don’t get it.

Perhaps a better title would have been Four Laughs.  That pretty much sums up my feelings for this forgettable comedy.  I chuckled on a small number of occasions but for the most part, I sat in the cinema with a disinterested look on my face.  Thank goodness the film was only 82 minutes long.

Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon) have been dating for a number of years and share a non-conformist view of society.  They don’t want to get married because they think it’s an unnecessary commitment – if you’re happy together, they why bother?  They also have no plan to bring children into the world.  Kids would cramp their style.

Neither wants to spend time with their families on Christmas Day so they book a holiday in Fiji.  They subsequently tell their gullible parents that their off to Burma to do some charity work.  Their scheme comes unstuck when heavy fog shuts down the airport.  As Brad and Kate try to find another flight, they are approached by a television reporter looking for an interview.  Their thoughts on the airport closure are broadcast live across San Francisco.

Lo and behold, their interview is seen by their parents.  They realise they have no choice but to spend the day travelling around San Francisco and paying each one of them a visit.  Boohoo.

I didn’t like any of the characters in this film.  They’re all so phoney and over-the-top.  The “transformation” of Brad and Kate didn’t sit well with me either.  The ending is rubbish but that came as no surprise given that which preceded it.  I prefer my comedies with more substance and more jokes.