A young couple (Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn) fabricates a story for their families that they are unavailable to visit them during the holidays because they will be too busy doing charity work. In reality, they are taking a trip to Fiji to have a relaxing vacation. Unfortunately for the young couple, there is a dense fog that causes all the airlines to cancel all flights. The families find out the news and the couple is brow beaten into visiting each of them. More after the break!
Let me begin by saying I am a collector of both Halloween and Christmas movies. I purchased this movie because there is a shortage of classic Christmas movies and my collection is lacking. I somewhat regret buying this on blu-ray because this movie did not have much of a Christmas feel to it at all. The extras on the blu-ray do help, especially the Paula Dean short with one of the characters from the film.
I did like the opening scene at the Christmas party or club. I really liked the decorations in the scene as well as the Bing Crosby, White Christmas remix. The couple is engaged in some witty banter and you quickly find out that they are role playing. I did enjoy that and the music throughout the entire film. The evening shots of buildings and residences with all the festive lights were great.
I disagree with the choice of Vince Vaughn as the main character. He is the same character in every movie he is in and does not have much range. There were many scenes in this film that were absurd or trying too hard. Here is a breakdown of these issues by each family member’s Christmas.
1) Brad’s Father’s Christmas: the family is overly violent and annoying. I realize Brad’s brothers were supposed to be cage fighters but I still felt the violence was overboard especially when the kids were “tagged in” to beat up Brad. I liked the character Susan but I thought the 7 Layer Salad of Bologna, peas, and mayonnaise was just gross. I did get a laugh out of the chain of events that occurred due to the shoddy wiring in the house and the group installation of the satellite dish on the father’s roof.
2) Kate’s Mother’s Christmas: I really questioned the writers at this point in the film. When we are introduced to Kate’s mother who is meeting Brad for the first time, she says “Come over here and give me a hug you big fat purple teddy bear. Bring it.” Who talks like that?!? Then she says “You’re so tall and firm like a giant oak”. That’s just creepy. There is a scene were the baby vomits and because of how the writers have Brad react to it, it feels like a cheap shot at trying to make you laugh. It was not funny. There is another long and drawn out scene involving Kate’s niece grabbing her pregnancy test and thinking it’s a marker. The scene seems like a bad filler. They go through some old pictures of Kate and there was no photo shop or anything to make them remotely believable to match the actress. They also hint to child on child molestation during this part of the movie. This was unnecessary, irrelevant, and the last thing I want to think about in a Christmas comedy movie. This segment of the film includes poking fun at over -zealous Christians.
3) Brad’s Mother’s Christmas: there is an awkward relationship between Brad’s mother and Brad’s best friend. They are lovers and it makes for some more obnoxious scenes. However, I enjoyed the scene where Susan and Denver are playing the game Taboo and they are in perfect sync with each other.
4) Kate’s Father’s Christmas: this was the most normal family of the four. It also had the most Christmas decorations which is a plus.
There is another baby vomit scene at the end which gives the impression that the writers think the lowest common denominator is the best way to go to get laughs. I disagree and believe this is over-done. Repetition does not produce laughs. Over all, this film does not have enough elements in it to be counted as a Christmas movie. It is a film that just happens to take place on Christmas.