5.5/10
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141 user 87 critic

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:

This year, Christmas comes early. Really early. Like... October 22nd. 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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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

On Christmas eve Alicia's hair changes frequently from wavy to curly as the night progresses. It seems to get curlier as it gets later. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in Cinematic Excrement: Wild Wild West (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Coming Home
Written by Keith Slettedahl
Performed by The 88
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User Reviews

Some stars are worth watching, Ben is one of them
23 October 2004 | by inkblot11See all my reviews

Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) is a rich ad man. However, he appears to have no immediate family and has never invited girlfriend Missy to visit with them, not even on Christmas. When Drew suggests to Missy that they jet to a warmer climate for the holidays, she severs their relationship. Ben, left alone, contemplates his situation. He can either spend Christmas watching television or he can travel to his childhood home and revisit some memories.

When he arrives on the new owners' doorstep, Ben gets the brilliant idea of asking them if he can hang with them for the holidays. Fat chance, without a little palm greasing. The Valcos (Catherine O'Hara and James Gandolfini) are therefore bribed to make the holidays special for Ben. Their beautiful daughter, Alicia (Christina Applegate) and son Brian do their best as well. Will it really be a Merry Christmas, the monetary way?

Ben Affleck is just such an attractive and charming star that he manages to pull this one off, even with some script weaknesses. O'Hara, Gandolfini, and Applegate, too, are all deft with comedy and they add to the film's enjoyment. Yes, it may be that the movie tries too much to be a black comedy and a sweet comedy at the same time. This aside, it has some funny things to say about the holidays, from gingerbread men with frowns to the ritual of singing off key while decorating the Christmas tree. The feel-good ending is heartfelt. Affleck fans, of which there are many, MUST see this film. Others who just want to tickle their funny bone, in between bouts of shopping, would enjoy this slight but sweet film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

$15,125,687
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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