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"Four Christmases"

Directed by Seth Gordon.
Written by Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.
Starring Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Jon Favreau and Robert Duvall.

Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  12/1/08


Don't take it from me, and don't take it from all of the cash this movie piled in over the Turkey Day holiday weekend, just see it for yourself.  I'd like to get your opinion on "Four Christmases", because for the 50-or-so people in my theater on Saturday afternoon, this movie was near-complete dogshit thanks to 80% of its laughs being included in its trailer and another film role for Vince Vaughn that nearly saps everything great about him from his hits.

Vaughn plays Brad, a lawyer in San Francisco who has been dating his now-live-in girlfriend Kate (Reese Witherspoon) for the last three years, and both of these lovebirds hate their families.  Maybe "hate" is too strong a word, but it hasn't stopped them from skipping Christmas with their families the last couple of years, instead heading out of the country for exotic vacations...but, this year, all of the flights out of SFO are grounded by bad weather, and when a local news crew tries to interview the pair as they are decked out in beach gear at the ticket counter, their families figure out that the pair is grounded.  So, Brad and Kate visit all four of their families (both sets of parents are divorced), and we get to meet a wild cast of peeps as Kate and Brad suffer not only through their families, but what they don't know about each other.

Yep, it's got "dramedy" written all over it.  There are a few chuckles in "Four Christmases" that I didn't see coming, thanks mainly to Vaughn's now-classic run-on line delivery, and I did love the Nativity sequence at the church of Kate's mother (Mary Steenburgen) featuring Vaughn as Joseph.  But mostly, "Four Christmases" left our theater quiet for long stretches, funny scenes written for laughs that delivered none, and lots of gratuitous breast shots of Kristin Chenoweth, who plays Kate's sister and is a whopping 4'11" tall.  (In pictures, it was weird seeing her standing next to Witherspoon, who is much taller than Chenoweth.  Not good.)

The worst offense is that this film tries to go drama on us for its last 20 minutes (after introducing the idea that this child-hating couple might want to have kids after all) and I was having none of it.  Yikes, this movie was not good, but so many people went to see it!  This country is already in the handbasket.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09