For those of you who may have not seen Four Christmases (or may have not seen it in a while), it follows a young couple, Brad and Kate, played by Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. They are a “hip” couple that has decided to never get married, never have kids, enjoy each other, and never want to spend Christmas with their families. Each year they tell lies to their families that they are going to third world countries to do charity work but instead go on exotic vacations. This year, however, their plan backfires when they are caught on local television going to Fiji. Brad and Kate -- both coming from divorced families -- are now stuck going to four houses for Christmas…and you wind up with the title Four Christmases.
On top of the concept, Four Christmases has a great cast for 2008. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon were coming off of Walk the Line and Wedding Crashers a few years earlier, accompanied by respected actors like Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek. Witherspoon and Vaughn are fine in the leads, with Witherspoon being her “cute but confident” self and Vince Vaughn doing a lot of “Vince Vaughing.” By 2008, Vaughn had become a bit played out and watching it in the theater it felt like work getting through his delivery. Now a few years removed, I can take a bit more enjoyment out of his performance than I did the first time through. The rest of the cast is made up of small bit parts, but watching it this time the two that stood out were Duvall and Jon Favreau. Most of the people in the movie aren’t in it enough to get a fair judge of their performance and are usually asked to be a character of a character, but Favreau and Duvall are over-the-top only to the furthest point before it becomes absurd. Lucky for us, the first stop on Brad and Kate’s journey is Brad’s father’s house, played by Duvall, with his two brothers Denver and Dallas, played by Favreau and Tim McGraw. There is a lot of screaming and yelling in these scenes, but as far as setting and performances this one is the best. Brad’s father lives in the middle of nowhere in a dilapidated house and drinks beer all day watching TV on a tiny set with bunny ears. Everyone is a cartoon, but like I said before, a few of these work and Duvall and Favreau are the two that worked (at least for me). While Favreau and Duvall’s best scenes happen later, they are tolerable.