Four Christmases, one ridiculous film
When new movies come out for the holiday season, you hope they will warm your heart like a chestnut roasting on that open fire.
‘Four Christmases’ is not one of those films.
Directed by Seth Gordon (‘The King of Kong’), the comedy that was screened Wednesday night in Gifford Auditorium focused on the dysfunctional families of Brad and Kate, a cohabiting couple, played by Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.
Though the topic attempts to relate to the audience, the sometimes overly violent and graphic cage-wrestling scenes taking place in the various homes of the families were exaggerated to the point of being unrealistic.
The beginning of the movie also seemed out of place, unconnected to the rest of the film.
Vaughn, used to being the main character in various comedies, warmed to the role of Brad and made his character, the lawyer-son of a truck-driving father, believable.
Witherspoon’s performance came off like an amateur performance rather than an Academy Award-winning A-list celebrity performance.
Witherspoon’s roles in films such as ‘Vanity Fair’ and ‘Legally Blonde’ make her more of a character actress. When she was put in the position of playing a ‘regular’ metropolitan woman, it made her acting seem a little forced at times; one scene showed Kate and Brad playfully packing for a trip to Fiji, but Witherspoon looked more like a monkey at a zoo rather than a woman packing for a fun week in the sun.
The secondary actors stole the movie. With a cast packed with actors such as Robert Duvall and Kristen Chenowith, it was inevitable.
Duvall fit the character of the tough-guy father without trying. His character approved of the brotherly wrestling that looked like it could cause permanent damage to his youngest son (Brad), but seemed to warm up to him when he came back to apologize for the damage he caused during a brawl.
Chenowith, more famous for her Broadway performances, played the sister who seemed to bring up all the wrong things during the festivities, including when she revealed to Brad that Kate, her sister, went to a fat camp when she was little. It’s reminiscent of the times when you would bring your boyfriend home for the first time and your little sister would bring the ‘blankie’ that you still sleep with downstairs.
The music, as the soundtrack to a Christmas film, almost brought some irony to the movie. Who wouldn’t chuckle when ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ plays behind a scene where Kate and her father, played by Jon Voight, are discussing the lies that they have told their families to avoid another holiday dinner.
Nothing about the actual filming itself was outstanding. But had University Union framed the film at Gifford Auditorium correctly during the prescreening Wednesday night, the audience might not have been as bothered by the awkward microphone consistently in the middle of the screen.
Though I’m sure that there will be many more holiday movies to come, this may not be the one to take your significant other to. Images of babies spitting up (oh yes, more than once, I might add) and wrestling in a moon bounce don’t necessarily spell out ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ to me.
Gordon should stick to his more dramatic short films and intriguing documentaries; comedy doesn’t seem to be his strong point.
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
Donahue's game-winning goal caps dramatic Syracuse comeback against Yale, propels Orange to final four
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Dylan Donahue’s goal with 13 seconds left capped off a thrilling, come-from-behind win for Syracuse and sends the Orange to its… Read more »