Four ChristmasesOverview -
Every Christmas happily unmarried Brad and Kate escape divorced parents and exasperating relatives by getting on a plane. This year the airport shuts down and the couple is forced to celebrate four family Christmases in one hectic, hilarious day. Can Brad and Kate’s relationship survive Four Christmases?
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Not to sound like a Scrooge, but to paraphrase Roger Ebert, I hated, hated, hated 'Four Christmases.'
I really mean that. This movie is atrocious.
Warner Bros., having not learned from the painful commercial and critical beating that their expensive, borderline unwatchable 'Fred Claus' the year before, bankrolled yet another pricey, inert Vince Vaughn holiday "comedy," this time with the asinine title 'Four Christmases.'
The plot, as much as there is one, is about Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, who are a couple of young professionals who are also totally selfish assholes. Instead of visiting their families at Christmas, the pair lie to them about being obligated to do charity work in some far-off country and then rush off to some tropical hideaway. This being a romantic comedy based entirely on coincidence and slipshod plotting, when a meteorological event causes all the planes at their airport to be grounded, they're interviewed for a local news program. Apparently, all four of their families (since both of their parents are divorced) watch that one local news channel, although the movie never goes out of its way to set the movie in a particular geographic location (Vaughn and Witherspoon live in San Francisco, this is about all we know).
Now, caught in their web of deceit, they feel obligated to visit all four of their families on Christmas day. Can you imagine! Well, yes, you can, because this is a tired plot worthy of the lousiest sitcom imaginable. But wait, no, this is a big budget Hollywood movie. They travel from home to home, enduring various unfunny degradations and humiliations (baby vomit, getting beat up by a brother etc.) in what will undoubtedly feel like the longest 88 minutes of your life (or maybe the second longest!).
This thing is really a chore. Under the direction of Seth Gordon, who directed the excellent documentary 'King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters,' 'Four Christmases' is little more than an embarrassment for everyone involved, especially when you think about how many amazing people are in this movie (many of them Oscar-winners) - Robert Duvall, Jon Voight, Jon Faverau, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen. Just typing these names makes me embarrassed for them. Additionally, fine character actors like Dwight Yoakam, Kristin Chenoweth, and Katy Mixon (from 'East Bound and Down') are equally wasted.
The movie is so amateurish, with such complete disregard for continuity, geographic orientation, or the basic nuts and bolts of narrative storytelling, that it really does begin to wear thin after almost the first scene (where Reese and Vince Vaughn have a weird role playing thing in a nightclub). Rarely have I been as astonished by a bad movie as I was by this thing. It's really that bad.
Note to Hollywood: Next time the words "Christmas" and "Vince Vaughn" pop up in the same pitch meeting, please oh please, put the breaks on it immediately. I don’t think the holiday can endure much more.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
The movie does auto-play, so get ready for it, whether you like it or not. The 'Four Christmases' set has a Digital Copy bonus disc. Because you'll be really eager to take this with you wherever you go. Not. It's a 25GB disc and is Region A locked.
Well, at least 'Four Christmases' looks good. The 1080p VC-1 encoded transfer (in the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1) is sharp enough to discern all five shades of blonde in Reese Witherspoon's hair (or is it a wig?)
Overall this is a solid transfer. Skin tones look good, blacks are deep, and all the Christmas colors really pop. There aren't any obnoxious technical issues, either, although I'm not sure I would have even noticed, the awfulness of the movie was so permeating.
Otherwise, there's not much else to say about the transfer. Most of the movie is set in the daytime, in some anonymous area, and those sequences can tend to be a bit bright, but besides that this is a fine, workmanlike transfer.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on this disc is also solid but unexceptional.
Like most comedies, the movie is basically all dialogue, and on that front, is front-loaded. That said, the dialogue is always crisp and clear, even when characters are talking over each other (don't get excited, this isn't a Robert Altman movie). Enjoy the banter in Dolby Digital 5.1
There are moments where the surround sound kicks in, like when Reese Witherspoon is trapped in one of those inflatable jumpy-thingees with a bunch of rambunctious little kids, and these sequences sound just fine. Likewise sound effects, like the splash of baby vomit on Reese Witherspoon's jacket, are well rendered and prioritized (alas).
Additionally, there are no clicks, hiss, or any other buggy audio anomalies. It doesn't make much of an impression on you, but it isn't offensively bad either.
Also on this disc is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and subtitles in English SDH and Spanish.
Every extra on this Blu-ray is exclusive. See below.
There's a big banner on the cover of 'Four Christmases' that says '45 Minutes of Hilarious Content' in regards to the special features, but I would be hard pressed to find 45 minutes of hilarious content on the entire disc -- movie and bonus features! In fact, I would be hard pressed to find five minutes of hilarious content. This movie is that awful. With adequate audio and video and equally terrible extras, the 'Four Christmases' Blu-ray is worse than a stocking full of coal. This is one to avoid.
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