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Surviving Christmas
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Reviews & Ratings for
Surviving Christmas More at IMDbPro »

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54 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

Surprised and Sore

10/10
Author: flying-monkeys from USA
23 October 2004

I laughed so hard during this movie my face hurt. Ben Affleck was hilarious and reminded me of a pretty boy Jack Black in this role. Gandolfini gives his typical A performance. The entire cast is funny, the story pretty good and the comic moments awesome. I went into this movie not expecting much so perhaps that is why I was so surprised to come out of the flick thoroughly pleased and facially exhausted. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys comedy, can identify with loneliness during the holidays and/or putting up with the relatives. The best part to this film (to me anyway) were the subtle bits of humor that caught me completely off guard and had me laughing long after the rest of the audience had stopped. Namely, the scene involving the lighting of the Christmas tree. Go see it and have a good laugh!

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38 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Subvert that genre!

5/10
Author: Joshua Morrall (the_usual_suspect) from United Kingdom
23 December 2004

Surviving Christmas

A ridiculous and perverse premise has somehow made its way onto cinema screens this Christmas. Just like Christmas With The Kranks and The Polar Express, Surviving Christmas winds towards a festive moral that aims to fill the audience with yuletide cheer. The execution of said moral in this particular seasonal release is highly questionnaire but unmistakably funny.

Surviving Christmas has been slammed by the critics remorselessly. Nobody seems to have liked this twisted retelling of the story of Scrooge, and I believe I have found the answer: nobody likes Ben Affleck.

Affleck plays a rich ad executive who pays a dysfunctional family to take him in and make Christmas just how it was when he was a child. This seriously strange idea could, in the right hands, been a gross out smash hit in the Farrely brothers style. Instead, Mike Mitchell decides to take the whole thing a little too seriously and what results is a comedy that is uncomfortable with itself. As a result the actors are left unsure whether to play their characters straight or exaggerated. This can be all be blamed on the script, or lack thereof. Filming took place without a finished draft, and thus, parts of the film were improvised and unfunny material remains in the final cut.

Nevertheless, there are many positive attributes to this genre subverting film. James Gandolfini is very entertaining as the constantly resentful Tom Valco whose only vice, in true Christmas spirit, is money.

Ben Affleck style in comedic roles is disliked by many, but his specific brand of humour is allowed to thrive in this unnatural plot and situation driven comedy. The character of the son (Josh Zuckerman) is underdeveloped, as is the family's relationship with its neighbours, but again the unfinished script can be held accountable.

Surviving Christmas is by no means a great film, but it is certainly not as bad as it has been labelled. Unfortunately, most won't get a chance to decide for themselves until this film is released on DVD as it was grossly under marketed in the UK. An offbeat comedy and a genuine step forward for the Scrooge remakes that when given the chance to shine in its own right, works quite well.

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43 out of 64 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious! Home run comedy folks!

Author: nyugrd from Dallas
27 October 2004

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!

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly funny

7/10
Author: Joseph Pintar from New Hartford, NY
14 March 2005

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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38 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Not as bad as I heard

7/10
Author: dbregenzer from United States
5 November 2004

This movie isn't as bad as I heard. It was enjoyable, funny and I love that is revolves around the holiday season. It totally has me in the mood to Christmas shop and listen to holiday music. When this movie comes out on DVD it will take the place of Christmas Vacation in my collection. It will be a movie to watch every year after Thanksgiving to get me in the mood for the best time of the year. I heard that Ben's character was a bit crazy but I think it just adds to the movie and why be so serious all the time. Take it for what is it, a Christmas comedy with a love twist. I enjoyed it. No, it isn't Titanic and it won't make your heart pound with anticipation but it will bring on a laugh or two. So go laugh and have a good time:)

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

I got what I wanted

9/10
Author: cg-cgeorge from United Kingdom
13 March 2008

What would you expect from a film titled 'Surviving Christmas'and presented as 'festive fun', something like Ghandi or English patient? There are lots of things I love about this film, it's funny, it is very well cast and it is superbly written. I came to the film as a Kaplan/Elfort fan but was dubious when I read the plot, it sounded ridiculous. But the film doesn't come across like that because Affleck (as Drew Latham) plays his part perfectly, one minute a child-like adult, the next a mature man who realises he has gained everything in life apart from what he really wants. In fact we see Latham grow up in this film, when he encounters the problems of those he envies and realises that their lives are not so good, he sees that his own lot is not so bad.

This film has fewer weak or dud scenes than many other comedies I have seen. Comedy is so much harder than any other type of drama, it either works or it doesn't and very few comedy writers get it correct every time.I particularly loved the drama scene, where the family take to reading parts written by Latham . The pleasure is in the reaction of Tom Valco (James Gandolfini) and the comments of Brian Valco (Josh Zuckerman). It is the dilemma of the greedy Tom Valco who has to bite his tongue, wear silly hats or sing to the Christmas tree in order to earn the prize money that keeps the film moving along well.

The addition of daughter Alicia (Christina Applegate) into the story brings a delightful romantic angle, and why not in a Christmas film? Of course its corny and contrived; he's rich and handsome, she's beautiful and single, and so inevitably her and Afflect end up falling over together in the snow and finding themselves face to face. Great! One thing I would have liked was more use of festive music to boost the atmosphere but I can't really complain. I got what I wanted.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A joyful Christmas movie

8/10
Author: jjcaine from United States
1 January 2005

Its a good thing I rented the movie before seeing the viewer rating from this site. It was a wonderful movie that I will be adding to my Christmas selection. The cast was wonderfully chosen and Ben Affleck plays a good leading role. I would tell viewers who have not seen the movie to go ahead and buy it. I rate it right up there with Christmas vacation. The movie was very funny and well written and Ben plays the eccentric rich executive very well. The things he says and does is just how I would imagine a person with too much money to act. The movie is much funnier than The Santa Claus and Christmas With The Kranks. Plus it has a good story line and teaches the true meaning of Christmas which is you can't buy love with money.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Not the usual formula

8/10
Author: mrc5555 from United States
3 July 2005

I had some reservations about this movie, I figured it would be the usual bill of fare --- a formula movie about Christmas. Being in the middle of a heat wave in late June, we decided to give it a shot anyway, maybe we would see some snow.

This movie turned out to be one laugh after another. Ben Affleck was believable in his character, but the real star of this one is James Gandofini. He delivered his lines with a real wit about him and made a great "dad".

If you want to have an enjoyable couple of hours, definitely check this one out.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

rich man rents a family to spend Christmas with

6/10
Author: disdressed12 from Canada
29 May 2007

i know it's not Christmas season,but i thought i'd watch this movie anyway.i didn't really have any expectations going in,so imagine my surprise when this turns out to be a watchable movie.it's not really very funny,but it has some amusing moments and it's not boring.i guess this was supposed to be a Ben Affleck vehicle,but i thought James Gandolfini and Catherine O'Hara had the more interesting characters and added more to the movie than Affleck did.Affleck does okay here,but he really has less to do than Gandolfini and O'Hara.Christina Applegate has a small role in the movie.this is a movie that satisfies you for 90 minutes,and then is quickly forgotten soon after.for me,"Surviving Christmas" is watchable and entertaining.as a result,i'll give it a 6/10

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

What a funny Holiday tale

8/10
Author: kai ringler from United States
18 February 2008

At first i didn't think that Ben Affleck could really pull off a funny Christmas movie,, boy was i wrong, my daughter invited me to watch this with her and i was not disappointed at all. James Gandolfini was funny,, i really liked Christina Appelagate, and Catherine O' Hara was good too, the storyline is what really sold me,, i mean,, too put up with family,, at the table for people you only hardly see but once or twice a year,, and probably don't get along with anyway,, you really do need as much alcohol as you're system can stand to deal with Christmas,, so i thought that the premise was good there, buying the family with 250000 dollars, was a little on the far fetched side,, but it turned out to work pretty good for me,, cause it was a riot all the way through, it shows the class struggle of the different families. it has lot's of funny moments, including embarrassing stuff on the computer for a teenage boy. all in all i loved this movie and will watch it again next Christmas or sooner if my daughter wants too.

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