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Blu-Ray Review: Tiresome ‘Four Christmases’ is Four Too Many

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CHICAGO – How has Vince Vaughn become one of the most boring actors in America? It has little to do with his performances and everything to do with his career choices. Sure, Vaughn has pretty much made a habit out of playing the exact same guy since “Wedding Crashers”: a fast-talking, self-absorbed, overgrown adolescent whose funniest quips are delivered under the breath and between punch-lines. Since you’re never sure what will come out of his mouth next, he’s consistently entertaining to watch, but the vehicles he chooses have become increasingly uninspired.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0

“Four Christmases” is a particularly obnoxious holiday offering, primarily because its filmmakers are convinced that they’ve created something that people can relate to. The film centers on a couple who routinely make up excuses to avoid spending the holidays with family. But when they enter the airport on their way to Fiji (foreshadowing Vaughn’s equally stale “Couples Retreat”), the world’s rudest news reporter shoves a camera in their face and blows their cover. Faster than you can say “Christmas With the Childless Unmarried Kranks,” Vaughn and Witherspoon are off to visit each of their parents, thus kicking off four back-to-back comic vignettes that only sitcom characters could relate to.

Four Christmases was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
Four Christmases was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

It’s as if the filmmakers were attempting to cram in all the cliches of every nightmarish holiday comedy, “Love Actually”-style. We’ve seen all of this before: the raucous redneck relatives, the devoutly religious mother who’s sleeping with her pastor, the father with the heart of gold, the nasty kids who delight in torturing adults, the babies who exist only to vomit, etc. Every family visit is accompanied by “special guest stars” who all look like they’d rather be elsewhere. Vaughn takes part in some particularly unpleasant slapstick with his long-time collaborator Jon Favreau, which was probably a lot more fun to film than it is to watch. The film becomes most repellant toward the end, as the repulsive family members end up teaching the couple Valuable Lessons About Each Other. Give me a break.

Four Christmases was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
Four Christmases was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

It’s astonishing to discover that this mess was directed by Seth Gordon, the same man responsible for the great comic documentary “The King of Kong.” This film proves he should stick to unscripted comedy. He should’ve just rounded up this great cast (which includes Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen and Jon Voight) and allowed them to improvise with Vaughn. His usual off-hand remarks offer the only fleeting laughs in the picture. When the couple finds out their flight to Fiji has been cancelled, they ask if there’s a “sister” or “cousin” airline they could take, until Vaughn interjects, “How about an airline that your airline felt up before?”

Here’s hoping that Vaughn sets his sights on a project worthy of his comedic gifts, and stops opting for these lazy, talent-squandering time-wasters. After this film and “Fred Claus,” Vaughn should permanently stay away from Christmas comedies.

“Four Christmases” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio), and comes with a digital copy. Special features include two standard featurettes, seven deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a totally inexplicable 15-minute cooking show with celebrity cook Paula Deen and actress Katy Mixon (who plays Favreau’s wife in the film, and remains in character throughout this forced skit, making a good case for why she should never become a late night talk show host). The disc also offers exclusive features via BD-Live: personal Christmas memories from the cast, and outtakes from the celebrity cooking video. Talk about holiday excess.

‘Four Christmases’ is released by New line Home Entertainment and stars Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Jon Favreau and Mary Steenburgen. It was written by Matt Allen & Caleb Wilson & Jon Lucas & Scott Moore and directed by Seth Gordon. It was released on November 24th, 2009. It is rated PG-13.

Staff Writer

Anonymous's picture

Vince is a great

Vince is a great entertaining actor, because of one slip someone like you shouldn’t come with claims like he has become the most boring actor in America.

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