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excuse me, sir! could you tell us about your hat choice please!?

PG-13

Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Favreau

Eric: You lie to your families at Christmas time?
Brad: Well, you really can’t spell families without “lies”…try it.

A couple wants to go to Fiji for Christmas instead of having to spend it with their families, but heavy fog delays their flight and forces them to attend celebrations at four different houses.

This is a fairly standard Christmas comedy with two relatively normal central characters surrounded by their eccentric family members.  Fortunately it manages to be somewhat funny at times, and it doesn’t have everything work out perfectly for all the families in the end either.  At least one character doesn’t really learn anything about family and kindness.  He’s bitter till the end.  Not exactly the Christmas spirit, but there’s plenty more movies out there to watch if you want that.

Not that there isn’t a message about family and blah blah blah.  There is.  It’s just usually accompanied by a less serious conversation.  Like when Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon) discuss the positives of having children, which includes all the free labor you get from them.

I’ll admit that I actually like Vince Vaughn most of the time, and he’s alright here.  His rapid, random talking thing works sometimes and doesn’t work other times.  He’s likable though, and he and Witherspoon are good together.

My least favorite part of the movie is the first of the four Christmases.  It occurs at Brad’s father’s house, and it involves a lot of yelling, slapstick comedy, a crying baby, and general destruction.  Once that segment was done, the movie became more watchable.

I guess that’s the level of praise I’ll give it.  It’s watchable.  You can have it on in the background and get a few laughs here and there and maybe a smidgen of Christmas spirit.  But if you want a funnier movie about people dealing with crazy relatives, just watch Christmas Vacation.

Sometimes it’s okay to avoid your family around the holidays.

10 – 2 for that whole first Christmas segment – 2.1 for not being consistently funny enough = 5.9