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Surviving Christmas (2004)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 22 October 2004 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
A lonely, obnoxious young millionaire pays a family to spend Christmas with him.

Director:

Mike Mitchell

Writers:

Deborah Kaplan (story), Harry Elfont (story) | 4 more credits »
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Affleck ... Drew Latham
James Gandolfini ... Tom Valco
Christina Applegate ... Alicia Valco
Catherine O'Hara ... Christine Valco
Josh Zuckerman ... Brian Valco
Bill Macy ... Doo-Dah
Jennifer Morrison ... Missy Vangilder
Udo Kier ... Heinrich
David Selby ... Horace Vangilder
Stephanie Faracy ... Letitia Vangilder
Stephen Root ... Dr. Freeman
Sy Richardson ... Doo-Dah Understudy
Tangie Ambrose ... Kathryn
John 'B.J.' Bryant John 'B.J.' Bryant ... Cabbie (as John BJ Bryant)
Peter Jason ... Suit
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Storyline

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 and Missy breaks up with him in the process, a self-therapy session leads Drew to decide to relive his best childhood Christmases. With his loved ones long-gone, he decides to rent a family: the Valcos, the current owners of his childhood home in suburban Chicago. Tom Valco wants nothing to do with Drew until an exorbitant amount of money is involved; they draw up a contract which expires at the end of Christmas night. What Drew doesn't (or refuses to) realize is that the Valcos are having their own problems, which his presence exacerbates. Can the Valcos endure their unexpected guest? If they can, will the money solve their problems? Meanwhile, will Drew come to realize what he wants in life and how to achieve it? Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Share the warmth See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

DreamWorks [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

22 October 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Surviving Christmas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,441,356, 24 October 2004

Gross USA:

$11,663,156

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,614,892
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The production was shot without a completed script. As a result, there were many delays and arguments over what to shoot. James Gandolfini admitted, in a behind the scenes interview, that most of the film was "improvised". See more »

Goofs

About halfway through the movie Drew and Alicia are sick and they turn on the TV. The song (video) playing was "Cherry Pie" by Warrant. The captions say, "Poison: Cherry Pie". See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Tosh.0: Nintendo 64 Kid (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

O Christmas Tree
Traditional tune, lyrics by Ernst Anschütz (uncredited)
Performed by Ben Affleck & James Gandolfini
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I got what I wanted
13 March 2008 | by cg-cgeorgeSee all my reviews

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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