A comedy centered around four couples who settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation. While one of the couples is there to work on the marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort's therapy sessions is not optional.
An uptight, conservative businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family's annual Christmas celebration and finds that she's a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life.
Sarah Jessica Parker,
Brad and Kate have been together three years, in love, having fun, doing all sorts of things together with no intention of marriage or children. Christmas morning, they're on their way to Fiji, having told their two sets of divorced parents that they're off to do charity work. Through a fluke, they have no choice but to visit each of their four idiosyncratic parents. As the day progresses, Brad and Kate remember growing up, each learns more about the other, and Kate realizes that her life may not be as good as it could be. Do they know each other well enough to weather the storms families bring? Written by
To be fair, I should explain right away I had no intention of seeing this movie at all not to mention Vince Vaughn hasn't done anything very good like Swingers and Made in some time (to me, Wedding Crashers and The Break Up were just O.K.). In fact, the bitter taste from last year's disappointing Fred Claus was still present when my girlfriend said she wanted to see this movie tonight. Of course, I cringed at the idea while mildly protesting but eventually gave in with the prospect of secretly indulging in an unspoken "I told you so". Only kidding, that thought never crossed my mind...
Anyways, I didn't even really know what this was about before seeing it but it didn't take long for the plot to be outlined after a pretty funny scene at the airport. Basically, after 3 years of avoiding spending time with their families on Christmas (remember, you can't spell families without "lies"), Kate and Brad find themselves in an unfortunate situation this year that forces them to spend Christmas with their divorced parents and very dysfunctional siblings. This concept could go either way for me because I really liked Christmas Vacation but disliked The Family Stone. Fortunately, just as it started out great this continued to be more like Christmas Vacation all the way through with several laugh out loud funny dialog and various slapstick that had the whole theater roaring with laughter. One of my favorite parts was a Nativity play where Vince Vaughn effectively delivers some hilarious over the top scenery chewing that had everybody in stitches... well, except Kate.
As funny as I thought this was, it wouldn't be a real Christmas movie without delivering some sort of constructive message among all the chaos. Since I can empathize with Vaughn in his situation with Kate, the film's resolution probably had more personal impact for me. I can also understand the criticism that most of the talented cast was wasted in comparison because the family situations were not addressed equally. What I liked the most about the film's brief serious turn is it wasn't syrupy while providing some genuine touching moments thanks to the believable acting skills of Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn and of course the two screen legends, Bobby DuVall and Jon Voight. Best Christmas movie I've seen since Bad Santa and yes, I will listen to my girlfriend's suggestions without being such a Scrooge from now on:)
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