I shouldn’t have liked it. It’s an 82 minute comedy farce co-starring Reese Witherspoon – what’s to like? But I actually enjoyed the movie 4 Christmases more than I thought.
So why did I see if I thought I’d hate it? For one, it was the only thing playing at the matinee price and for two, I had a sort of curiosity about the acting abilities of two country music super-stars: Dwight Yoakam and Tim McGraw. Actually, having seen Dwight Yoakam in Sling Blade, I’m well aware of his acting skills. It was such a great performance in Sling Blade that I thought it was Oscar-worthy. He’s not given much to work with in this movie however, and his role as one of those Leap of Faith-type preachers is not very well developed. I don’t think it’s any fault of Yoakam, though, but more a testament to the lazy script.
Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star as a freewheeling couple who don’t see the need to marry since they’re already happy, and they don’t want kids. The first scenes of the movie really emphasize how perfect this couple’s lives are, and it’s almost sickeningly sweet how well they get along. Enter their extended families, and they become miserable people. It begins when their flight to Fiji is cancelled on Christmas and they are featured on the news. The couple (their names were not memorable) is now busted in their annual lie about travelling to some exotic location for charity work. They fib about this every year to their families so they can avoid seeing all 4 families (each set of parents is divorcd) for Christmas. So now that they can’t go to Fiji, they have to visit 4 sets of crazy relatives on one day and yada, yada, anticipated baby jokes and predictable chaos ensues, you get the picture.
For some reason, a lot of Hollywood stars agreed to be in this movie. And just as I expected, Vince Vaughn was the same in this movie as the characters he always plays. He can be funny, but he’s not very versatile. I was surprised that Reese Witherspoon did not get under my skin because for some reason, she annoys the heck out of me, and it’s distracting when watching her in movies. As far as the country music super-stars are concerned, I consider this movie a waste of Dwight Yoakam’s acting talent, and Tim McGraw was barely in the movie at all. I read somewhere that he beefed up for the role, and he was hard to recognize, although I don’t really know why he bothered gaining all the weight for a part that hardly has him on camera and with barely any lines. Other big name actors making cameos were Mary Steenburgen, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, and Sissy Spacek – maybe it’s just me, but even though she’s almost 60, I still look at her and see Carrie the fire-starting teen from the famous Stephen King horror movie of the ’70’s.
Overall, there was only one scene where I couldn’t even watch because of its ludicrousness, so instead I turned to my husband and whispered, “This is unbelievably dumb”. Other than that, I was entertained, and mostly because it was a holiday movie, it was fun to sit, watch, and eat popcorn. I wonder how Christmas With The Kranks will compare. I’ve heard that one is just awful, yet I want to see it since I read the John Grisham novel upon which it was based.