IMDb > Surviving Christmas (2004) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Surviving Christmas
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Surviving Christmas More at IMDbPro »

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 3 of 12: [Prev][1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [Next]
Index 112 reviews in total 

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

You can't buy what you wish for!

Author: ( from United States
25 December 2007

You can survive Surviving Christmas. I thought the television version was a bit edited way down. I like Ben Afleck. He plays Drew Johnson, a family-less adult, who is willing to pay complete strangers. The Valcos starring James Gandolfini and Catherine O'Hara as the parents and Christina Applegate as Lisa Valco, the daughter. Drew is lonely around the holidays because he doesn't have a family of his own so he rents out a family in the Chicago suburbs for a quarter million dollars. Bill Macy who I best remember for playing Maude's husband Arthur is hired to play Duda, the grandfather. When the whole situation comes crashing down, the truth can be painful. The Valcos household is crumbling apart from the Drew situation. Drew's rich girlfriend and her parents make a surprising visit. You can't buy what you wish for! The acting and writing is mediocre but the first rate cast pulls it through to the final scene.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good holiday comedy that is sure to brighten up any lonely person's day

Author: Grace Zeh ( from Chantilly, Virginia, USA
1 December 2005

What's with all the negative comments? After having seen this film for the first time tonight, I can only say that this is a good holiday comedy that is sure to brighten up any lonely person's day. When I saw that Drew (Ben Affleck) might end up spending the holidays alone, I wanted to cry. You'll have to see the movie if you want to know why. Also, even though I liked Tom (James Gandolfini) and Alicia (Christina Applegate) after awhile, if you ask me, they were real snobs. However, this film did make me smile and feel good inside. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that Mike Mitchell has scored a pure holiday hit. Now, in conclusion, I highly recommend this good holiday comedy that is sure to brighten up any lonely person's day to any Ben Affleck or Christina Applegate fan who hasn't seen it.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The BEST Worst Movie You Ever Saw

Author: Carrie_the_Oracle from Pasadena, CA
21 June 2005

This is one of those little Christmas movies for everyone. Our Scrooge is Ben Affleck, who decides money is not enough, so he rents the family who lives where he thought HIS family did. OK? This is a great little high school soap, PG-13, but the small sex references are comedy, so if your kid can't handle them, they can't live in the real world, either.

Now, Affleck is a hunk, and as usual walks through this fun, OMG, remember when we did..., ensemble piece as if he were at the end stages of some neuroinfectious disease. But that's OK, because even this old Oracle keeps hoping that if Ben's that well proportioned all over, well, there's hope for us ladies yet. Luckily, the rest of the ensemble--Catharine O'Hara, James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate, Udo Kier and Josh Zuckerman--fill in and keep this shadow-side-Ozzie-and-Harriet Christmas alternately hilarious, comfortable and warm.

This movie is the kind you can jump up and get popcorn, and when you get back, everyone wants to back it up to show you what you missed.

This is a happy film, after all, and it leaves you feeling good about life, love, family, Christmas and Chanel. There really IS something for everyone.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Laugh out loud funny

Author: movieguru22
27 October 2004

I don't remember seeing previews or hearing bad reviews but I am an Affleck fan nonetheless and drug my significant other to see it with me. I haven't laughed so much in a movie for a very long time. Admittedly it has a few slow parts and I wasn't too sure at the beginning if I was going to like it, but I have to say I just got back from watching it again last night. It made me laugh so hard my face hurt, even the second time. So it isn't an Oscar caliber movie, but is a fun Christmas movie anyway. I will definitely own it on DVD.

You won't be sorry you saw's a check brain at the door, laugh out loud 'vacation' from the real world.

Was the above review useful to you?

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not as disastrous as reviews made it out to be

Author: MLDinTN from TN
20 June 2005

I remember when this was in theaters, reviews said it was horrible. Well, I didn't think it was that bad. It was amusing and had a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor concerning families around holiday time.

Ben Affleck is a rich guy who needs to find a family for Christmas to please his girlfriend. He goes to visit the house he grew up in and strikes a deal to rent the family there for Christmas. I really liked the lawyer scene where they sign a contract. That was funny.

So, he makes silly requests of the family and even writes scripts for them to read. Of course, the family has a hot daughter for the love interest. And he learns that the holidays aren't so bad after all.

Also, the whole doo-dah act was funny, especially when they replaced the first one with a black guy, and the girlfriends's parents didn't even say anything about it. And the parts where doo-dah is hitting on his "supposed daughter." FINAL VERDICT: I thought it's worth checking out if you catch it on cable.

Was the above review useful to you?

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious holiday fun

Author: kubrickfan71 from LA
26 October 2004

Although it was ripped apart by critics and Ben Affleck haters of the world, Surviving Christmas is a truly hilarious flick. I'll admit that I didn't want to see this movie originally (I got dragged to it by a signifigant other). Once in the theater, however, it was a different story. I found myself laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. A lot of it is was due to Affleck's supposed improvised lines, all of which were hilarious, but the concept itself is equally funny. People will say they don't want to see an Affleck movie, but no one has ever seen him perform like this. James Gandolfini is also very funny in a supporting role. Most holiday movies end very sappy, but this one remains funny all through out. Now, its not a great movie, but almost no great movies are laugh-till-you-cant-breathe funny. I would put this one up there with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Scrooged as the three funniest holiday movies of all time.

Was the above review useful to you?

17 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Didn't seem like Ben was trying a little too hard?

Author: grandmasnotdead from Kirkland, WA
23 October 2004

This movie was pretty absurd. There was a FEW funny parts. Its goes right in to the bin of movies in my memory where I think, "Hmm.....that movie had a few funny parts, but overall, pretty ridiculous plot (or lack of)."

I thought it seemed like Ben was trying a little too hard to be a cooky funny guy. And I didn't understand how he was a self made multi-millionaire and still such an idiot. Anyways, I like Ben Affleck. He makes some crap, but hey, I can forgive him. I mean, I liked Jersey Girl, I didn't think Gigli was all his fault, I like him overall. I guess he's kinda like the kid you feel sorry for cuz he just can't seem to get it right.

My advice would be to avoid this flick. It didn't really develop in to a workable plot and Catherine O'hara and Jimmy G. weren't used as well as they could have been. They deserved better. Overall, this movie is NOT Home Alone, it's NOT A Christmas Story, its NOT Christmas Vacation or any of the other classics. Forever Forgettable.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Underrated. Far from perfect but a really good, enjoyable movie nonetheless.

Author: kwlandry from United States
25 December 2014

Underrated. Far from perfect but a really good, enjoyable movie nonetheless. Great chemistry between Applegate and Affleck, Affleck like you'll never see him again, enjoyable, but as he's far down the "Serious, Serious" road now, you'll not see him anywhere near this funny and goofy again. Fantastic supporting cast, Gandolfini is so good as the gruff Dad, O'Hara so perfect as the Mom and to Gandolfini's Dad, Macy as the granddad, and others, can't imagine a better cast. Really good lines peppered throughout, overlook the odd bit here and there and just an enjoyable hour and a half. Clearly there was some struggle during production to get this made, makes you wonder what it could have been, but also clearly why a good cast is so important, and what a great cast can do to save a movie even to the point of making it an enjoyable 90 minutes.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

No joy in this Christmas

Author: SnoopyStyle
8 December 2013

Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) is a lonely wealthy executive who tries to visit his childhood home. He finds the Valcos (James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara, Christina Applegate, Josh Zuckerman) living there now, and he pays them to have a fun family Christmas with.

Ben Affleck is trying too hard. He's faking it too hard. I guess it's a black comedy, but it doesn't have the edge to be one. If it's a farce, Affleck doesn't have the comedic chops to pull it off. If it's a sentimental Christmas movie, the setup is too awkward. It really can't be justified as anything more than a miss. Gandolfini and O'Hara actually can't find any laughs which is a tough feat for O'Hara. At least, Applegate gives the movie a small amount of heart. But I can't figure out Affleck in this.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

You'd be hard-pressed to find a worse film about the holidays

Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
5 September 2012

Just two years ago, in my review of Deck the Halls, I stated, "This ranks up with the 2006 remake of A year Without Santa Claus for the worst holiday film ever made. I would name this #2 in the list of the worst of its kind." Now I have just seen Surviving Christmas, a film that collectively beats both films to that title.

This is a trite, extremely uninspired trudge through the gutter of cinema. An affront to any and all comedy, Christmas cheer, and sentimentality. A film so poor that the phrase "guilty pleasure" is not an excuse to favor or support it. This is an obnoxiously poor film with an obnoxiously ignorant character locked in an obnoxiously contrived setup.

We follow our alleged protagonist Drew Latham (Ben Affleck), an insufferable, unremarkable man, with no family, no close friends, and a girlfriend who breaks up with him minutes into the film. He is told by his long-suffering shrink to return to his childhood home before Christmas, jot down a list of "grievances," and is instructed to burn the paper in front of his home immediately.

So he does. But in the middle of the exercise, he is clobbered on the head with a shovel by the homeowner, Tom Valco (James Gandolfini) and is taken inside. Soon enough, he wakes up and states that his act wasn't a malicious one and is politely granted a request to tour the house and meet the rest of the most uninteresting family in the world. The tour consists of Drew tirelessly revisiting members, including "the squeaky stair" (with all the things Affleck regrets, that scene should be number one on his list).

After the tour, Drew makes a generous proposal: $250,000 if he can stay at the house, be treated like the son of the family (mostly trying to replicate his own), and be a part of childish activities galore.

What a horribly unrealistic, muddled mess this soon becomes. A confused, unfocused Christmas picture, likely to bring as much cheer to the average person as a paper-cut. Things get stranger when we see Drew try to strike up a relationship with the Valco's daughter, Alicia (Christina Applegate), who returns home for the holidays. If there was anything this film could do to be (a) more generic and (b) even less interesting it has just done so.

Now this is where the film royally misfires; its direction and tone haphazardly tries to touch every cliché direction the storyline can possibly crank out. From the schmaltzy love-story, the sentimentally-challenged writing, the goofy slapstick, to the bittersweet finale, which turns the "bitter" aspect into a shockingly appalling blandness, it is a wonder what the crew was even thinking.

Take a scene about hallway through the film where the teen boy who lives at the house is gleefully browsing the internet for juvenile porn when the "grandfather" (a random old man, played to Drew's girlfriend as his real grandfather) waltzes upstairs to see what the boy is doing. He sees the scantily clad Asian woman on screen and tries to find out from the boy how to work the computer so he can continue to browse the site. A few clicks later, and they discover a picture of the boy's mother in a rather explicit pose, which leads to the grandfather asking, "can you print this?" It isn't long after that the mother gives Drew's girlfriend, grandfather, and the rest of the fake family a tour of the house, which leads to them walking up to the room to find the son staring shocked and dismayed at the explicit photo. Cue obligatory scene of shock followed by a zinger by one of the characters.

It's completely unorthodox that the writers of this picture want this to be see as a cheerful Christmas film when they not only include an overwrought, ignorant main character trapped in a senseless screenplay of errors and fuel the remainder with stupidity and scenes of unnecessary nature. Surviving Christmas was released in October 2004, about a month before holiday films are known to begin their run in theaters. If that isn't a sign of the studio giving up on their own picture, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better, more blunt example.

Starring: Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, and James Gandolfini. Directed by: Mike Mitchell.

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 3 of 12: [Prev][1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Ratings Awards
External reviews Parents Guide Official site
Plot keywords Main details Your user reviews
Your vote history