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Surviving Christmas (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  22 October 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 16,048 users   Metascore: 19/100
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A lonely, obnoxious young millionaire pays a family to spend Christmas with him.



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Title: Surviving Christmas (2004)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alicia Valco
Horace Vangilder
Letitia Vangilder
Dr. Freeman
Doo-Dah Understudy
John 'B.J.' Bryant ...
Cabbie (as John BJ Bryant)


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and a brief drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

22 October 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sobrevivendo ao Natal  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,441,356 (USA) (22 October 2004)


$11,198,345 (USA) (19 November 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


There are no mountain ranges, such as the one depicted, within hundreds of miles of Chicago. However, it's possible that Drew, with his resources, "whisked" the family away to Colorado for the day. See more »


[first lines]
Drew Latham: 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.
See more »


Featured in Bad Movie Beatdown: Deck the Halls (2012) See more »


What's Your Name?
Written by Gary Rossington & Ronnie Van Zant
Performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Hilarious! Home run comedy folks!
27 October 2004 | by (Dallas) – See all my reviews

Don't listen to the critics - this film is truly hilarious and, more to the point, touching.

I am not a real fan of Ben Affleck - I am somewhat ambivalent about hi

  • but he knocks the comedy ball out of the park in this film.

Gandolfini is also excellent, as always.

Is this a holiday classic? Perhaps not, but in the tradition of Bad Santa, this is going to become part of my DVD collection as soon as possible.

Do yourself a favor - go see this truly funny movie! The only downside is your sides will hurt from all the laughs!

Merry Christmas!

43 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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