The stars of Four Christmases are vast, but its message is universal and to the point. When it comes to the holidays, for those in relationships, families can be landmines of embarrassment we all maneuver through. At least on screen in the hands of Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, the tale is one of enormous comic charm.
The Vince and Reese comedy hour
Vince and Reese star as Brad and Kate, a successful couple living in San Francisco that have managed to avoid their respective families for the last several Christmases. This year is different. Fog has sacked the airport and when they land on the local news, the appearance sparks the visits of Four Christmases. Four parents separated by divorce, siblings and their children as well as a cornucopia of emotions that going home brings, the story is a perfect storm of emotional hilarity.
Vaughn and Witherspoon are an impeccable comic team. Although their height difference is immense, their talent is equally on par. Four Christmases begins in such a way that the audience immediately becomes aware of Brad and Kate’s relationship and how fantastically perfect their present is treating them. Why on earth would they want to introduce the other to their families and open up cracks in the pillar each has put the other upon?
With each subsequent family visit, Witherspoon and Vaughn explore aspects of their acting repertoire rarely exhibited in their careers thus far. Vaughn, of course, is a terrific comic actor with immeasurable talent if not questionable film choices at times. Witherspoon is an Academy Award winning actress who has flirted with comedy in the Legally Blonde films. She has a Lucile Ball timing opposite Vaughn that is such a joy to witness over the course of Four Christmases.
Theportrayers of the parents is an all-star cast any director would dream of leading. Led by Robert Duvall as Brad’s father, the Oscar winner relishes in his opportunity to let loose within the character that is a coot in every sense of the word. The cast is as stellar as audiences will see on screen this year.
Overseeing his Ultimate Fighting sons (Jon Favreau and Tim McGraw), Duvall is a delight as a character whose motivation is solely personal pleasure – whether it’s beer, bad television and two sons who have failed in life and one who succeeded who he could not resent more.
Watching Vaughn and Duvall go at it while Witherspoon watches the mania that represents the childhood of the man she loves, is so painfully funny, I recommend not drinking or eating during the entire Duvall episode.
Up next…Witherspoon, Vaughn, Gordon and company have created a Christmas film that transcends holidays.