Do hypocritical holiday comedies such as Four Christmases have an alarm clock inside them that goes off when they’re suddenly supposed to go all soft and gooey?
This spends most of its running time cataloguing how exhausting, annoying and overbearing families can be during the holidays. Then, for fear of insulting those exhausting, annoying and overbearing relatives, the movie spends its last 10 minutes assuring us that nothing is more important than family. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star as a devoted couple who have made the strategic decision to avoid their families each year by pretending to be out of the country doing volunteer work. When they get caught, they must make amends at four parties (both of their parents are divorced) in one day. Thanks to their visual incongruity if nothing else – they’re sort of like the coed version of Laurel and Hardy – Vaughn and Witherspoon are an engaging comic pair. The dreadful script, however, gives them nothing with which to work. All Vaughn, an improvisational comedian, really needs is a promising situation, but Four Christmases is even bereft of those.