Its coming on Christmas, they're cutting down the trees, putting up reindeers, singing songs of joy and peace. Yay! That means its time for this years 'subversive' Christmas movie. You know the type, Bad Santa, Fred Claus, Die Hard, the kind of film that says yahboosucks to all things yuletide and then crams down the holiday cheer in the last act and says 'love your family' and 'aren't kids just great'. Okay Die Hard doesn't really do that but it does have Alan Rickman saying "Ho Ho Ho, I haff a machine gun". So it deserves a mention.
The bah humbug couple in quesion are Brad and Kate (Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon) who hope to get away to Fiji for the holiday season only to be caught on TV at the airport when fog delays their flight. When their 'rents see they are still in America they feel dutifully bound to visit them. The problem is both sets of parents are divorced, so one family meet-up is doubled then doubled again, hence the Four Christmases. These Hollywood writers are well clever.
Thankfully for us they've thrown most of the best comedy actors at the pretty weak premise and script. So we get Double V doing his usual 'bit of an asshole/jabbermouth' schtick, Greasy 'hit in the face with a frying pan' With a Spoon doing her cutesy, adorable thing, the mum from Elf being a bit like the mum from Elf and Robert Duvall as an even Hickier Hick than that Hick from that film with that guy who is a real Hick. *Cough*. We also get to see three members of Swingers looking really fat. So fat that if they are still 'the money' it looks like they spent it all on pies.
Of course there is no such thing as an unpredictable rom-com so to smack this child for being obvious seems to be erring a little on the side of abuse. While it ticks all the familiar festive fancies such as kids, relatives, board games and nativity plays, you can't help but wish Brad and Kate had actually gone on holiday instead. Which seems to miss the point. Christmas films are supposed to trick you into wanting to spend time with your family. This year I'm going to stick with George Bailey and Clarence. At least It's A Wonderful Life makes the homestead look like a place you want to be. Even if it might ultimately force you to commit suicide.