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.
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
Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are Brad and Kate ... a couple who are so happy with their relationship that they don't ever want to spoil it by getting married. Besides, both of them are children of divorce and thus they're in no hurry to tie any knots themselves. So after they've fornicated before the credits (always suitable for a Christmas movie), they decide they'll skip Christmas by going to Fiji, but give their parents some b.s. excuse every year about traveling to help orphans ("You can't spell 'families' without 'lies' ", Brad rationalizes). When it turns out all airline flights are cancelled due to fog, their problem is made worse when they're interviewed "live" at the airport by the news, and their families see them. So they have no choice but to make four trips in one day to visit each of their divorced parents on Christmas. All the families in the film are weird to one extent or another -- Brad's two brothers are wrestlers who beat him up mercilessly; his dad (Robert Duvall) is a redneck ol' cuss. His mom (Sissy Spacek) is now shagging her son's younger best friend. Kate's mother (Mary Steenburgen) is sex-starved. Jon Voight is in there somewhere as Kate's pop. I could go on, but the point is that there's a good deal of crude and toilet-type humor on display here (a lot of babies with projectile vomiting, for example) and not that much of it is humorous. Doesn't feel very "Christmas-y", either. I always thought the idea of Christmas movies is to want to re-view them annually each year with the family as tradition. But why anyone would want to see the majority of "holiday" films of this decade over again is beyond me. ** out of ****
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