Dave's Rating:


...comedy-killing heartwarmth

Who’s In It: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth

The Basics: You’ve seen the billboard. Reese and Vince wake up in a grimy underground torture chamber to find themselves bound in giant red ribbon. Then the Saw guy makes them decide which one of them has to cannibalize the other in order to teach themselves the true meaning of Christmas. Okay, lie. That’s just the movie I wish I’d watched instead of this one where they have to visit their wacky divorced parents for the holidays.

What’s The Deal: Christmas movies are easy. All they have to be is adequately bland to keep on cashing in on TV every year until you’re old. And then that familiarity breeds a kind of weird mindwashing where people start calling everything a “holiday classic” and then eventually, Idiocracy-style, we’re all just watching flatulent buttocks do nothing but fart “Jingle Bells” for 90 minutes. Actually that would have been more fun than this movie, too.

Guess What Else You Don’t Need To Spend 10 Bucks For, 10 Bucks You Could Spend On About 3% Of A Really Decent Present For Someone You Actually Love: A scene where Jon Voight intones, “Family is the most important thing.” Seriously. Just when whatever minor laughs this movie delivers have finally been stomped on by the slowly creeping intrusion of comedy-killing heartwarmth, someone has the nerve to drag that one out. Because you didn’t know already that family was important, did you? DID YOU? Hollywood is so selfless when it comes to doling out important divorce-preventing wisdom. We should all be grateful.

The Almost-Save: Jon Favreau and relative newcomer Katy Mixon as the white-trash brother and sister-in-law who crush everybody at a game of Taboo. You can pretty much bail after that and go sneak into something else. You know what’s funny? Role Models. Go see that instead.

Or, If You Must See A Christmas-Themed Film About Families Who Don’t Get Along: Try A Christmas Tale (now playing in select big-city arthouses with highly readable subtitles) or just go Netflix The Ref again.


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