Review by Jack Foley
VINCE Vaughn’s latest comedy is as painful as its premise suggests… a drawn out, unfunny and completely predictable festive movie that offers very little in the way of seasonal cheer.
Hapless couple Brad and Kate (played by Vaughn and Witherspoon) are forced to visit each of their estranged in-laws on Christmas Day once their annual getaway is thwarted by bad weather.
In doing so, they put their relationship to the test as each stop-over reveals more that they didn’t know about each other.
Seth Gordon’s film boasts a strong support cast (including Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Favreau and Jon Voight) and the odd guilty chuckle, but really does test the goodwill of its viewers.
First and foremost, the characters are so objectionable – even to the main protagonists – that spending time in their company is a very big ask.
What passes for humour is also very mean-spirited, with the majority of the gags revolving around personal humiliation or getting beaten up.
There’s also an inevitability to proceedings that makes the eventual break up and reconciliation par for the course… and not particularly well handled when it finally does happen.
Vaughn comes out of the mess particularly badly, having also ruined last Christmas with another ill-advised festive offering, Fred Claus.
But Witherspoon, Duvall, Favreau and company do little to make their characters likeable, while the obligatory spoilt children are as precocious and frightening as ever.
The overall conclusion, therefore, is that this family adventure is best left unvisited… and Vaughn should never be allowed to make a Christmas movie again!
Running time: 90mins
UK Release Date: November 26, 2008