It's the Christmas season. Wealthy Chicago ad executive Drew Latham has long avoided the family traditions of Christmas, but has dreaded being alone on the actual day. So when his tropical Christmas vacation with girlfriend Missy Vangilder falls through with Missy breaking up with him in the process, Drew, in going through some self-therapy, decides what he really needs is to relive the memorable Christmases from his childhood, which includes spending time with his parents and younger brother. As that is not possible, he decides to rent a family, namely ones he's never met before, the Valcos - husband and wife Tom and Christine and their teenaged son Brian - who now live in Drew's childhood home in suburban Chicago. Tom initially wants nothing to do with Drew until an exorbitant sum of money is involved, all written in a contract which expires at the end of Christmas day. What Drew is initially unaware of, or what he chooses to remain ignorant about, is that the Valcos are going ... Written by
The production was shot without a completed script. As a result, there were many delays and arguments over what to shoot. Actor James Gandolfini admitted in behind the scenes interview that most of the film was "improvised". See more »
On Christmas eve Alicia's hair changes frequently from wavy to curly as the night progresses. It seems to get curlier as it gets later. See more »
Folks, my firm's done a tremendous amount of marketing research and we've discovered two critical things, one; most Americans feel that Christmas is a time for family. Two; most Americans feel that in order to stand being around their family, for even one or two days, they need to swill as much alcohol as humanly possible.
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Surviving Christmas is a surprisingly funny movie especially considering the bad publicity when it was first released. Ben Affleck is funny as an obnoxious millionaire who pays the family that occupies his childhood home to be his family for Christmas. He then drives the family crazy with overindulgence for Christmas cheer. I have not been a Ben Affleck fan in the past (though I did like Daredevil and Paycheck) but here he is well cast in this role. I also like Christina Applegate as the daughter in the family who can't stand Affleck's character at first. Sure you can see where this movie is going but you don't care. Ignore what the critics say and rent this movie out because it is funnier than a lot of Christmas movies.
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