Four Christmases (2009) - Special Edition [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Comedy / Romance|
|Warner Brothers || PG13 - 88 minutes - $35.99 || November 24, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-11-14|
Writer(s): Matt R. Allen & Caleb Wilson (story), Matt R. Allen & Caleb Wilson and Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (screenplay)
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw, Jon Voight
Theatrical Release Date: November 26, 2008
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What do you get when you put together the oddest couple and have them visit their even odder families? You get moderately hilarious situations but an overall empty vessel of a so-called comedy.
Brad (VINCE CAUGHN) and Kate (REESE WITHERSPOON) are seemingly the perfect couple. Three years into their relationship they role play at parties, take dance classes just for the hell of it, and avoid their relatives like the plague. Every year they make up some lame excuse and instead take a vacation to some exotic locale. This year it was supposed to be Fiji until their flight is cancelled and theyíre caught on live television and are forced to make a visit to their families, all of whom are divorced thus four separate visits.
The first stop on the circus tour is Bradís UFC wannabe father (ROBERT DUVALL) and brothers (JON FAVREAU, TIM MCGRAW) who ridicule Brad because heís not tough enough before taking turns beating him up. Then itís off to Kateís religious mother (MARY STEENBURGEN) and her pushy aunts where they dredge up Kateís bad childhood memories. After an odd sequence in which Brad and Kate play Joseph and Mary in the churchís play, they then meet Bradís down to earth mother (SISSY SPACEK) who is married to Bradís former best friend... yikes. Before the last stop, at Kateís fatherís (JON VOIGHT) home, Kate and Brad realize they donít know each other as well as they thought. Will their relationship survive? Does anyone really care? One quick note, thankfully Kateís father, while filled with regrets, is fairly normal so no zany grandmother or a step-mother who is off the wall.
Four Christmases, though at times funny, is filled with mostly unlikeable characters that you really could care less about, and that includes the two leads with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. And I like both of them even if they donít exactly give stellar performances even in a romantic comedy genre that rarely produces anything of note (and of late). Vaughn basically plays the fast talking, wise-cracking fellow we've seen in Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up and Fred Clause. Seriously, this is essentially the same character.
Then you have the lovely Reese Witherspoon, who is still as beautiful as ever, fails to bring anything fresh to a stale genre and a plot that never quite comes together. What is the story about? Surviving crazy relatives? Is it the true meaning of love and relationships? Avoid your relatives at all possible cost? Finding out how funny seeing a baby puking really is, especially since they used the joke twice? Iím still not sure and Iím not sure who thought this pairing would work since I really didnít see much of a romantic spark between the two. They had a good friendship chemistry going even an older brother/young sister dynamic, but as lovers? No way.
Also, I know some people have brought up the locations and how illogical it would be for them to visit everyone in one day. Well, I could care less. What I do care about when it comes to comedy is whether the material is funny and frankly, this wasnít that funny outside of a couple amusing moments in an otherwise dull genre picture.
Four Christmases has a few amusing moments here and there, but I canít really recommend this film even with two actors that I personally like even if someone like Vince Vaughn is playing the same character over and over. This might make for a decent rental or if youíre patient a certain appearance down the road on TBS or TNT, otherwise you can skip this.
All features are ** Blu-ray Exclusives **.
Four Christmases: Holiday Moments (10:50; HD) Ė All the crazy things that happen when the family gets together at the holidays actually occur on set as memorable moments mirror true in life in more ways than one. Members of the cast and crew talk about making the film and getting insights into the real chaos while also explaining the plot.
HBO First Look Ė Four Christmases: Behind the Madness (13:02) Ė This is a look inside the homes of Brad and Kateís four dysfunctional families during Christmas. Like most of these featurettes, itís basically a promo for the film where the cast and crew talk about the plot and how funny it is. There is plenty of behind-the-scenes footage intertwined with footage from the movie.
Seven Layer Holiday Meals in a Flash (10:08; HD) Ė Celebrity Cook Paula Deen and Actress Katy Mixon whip up a unique, yet curious, holiday recipe. Iíll admit that I didnít get beyond 1-minutes of this. Mixon appears on the show as her character. How awesome is that...
The gag reel (2:34; HD), a contains the usual flubbed lines, giggling and all around on-set antics while there are seven average deleted/extended additional scenes (8:21; HD).
Lastly is the digital copy and a BD-Live portal where you can watch outtakes with Paula Deen and ďCandid Cast Christmas MemoriesĒ. Unfortunately after eventually logging in, I found none of these features, but they may go live when the Blu-ray is released.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Four Christmases is presented with a 1.85 aspect ratio and in 1080p high definition. The picture is fairly impressive, as it should be for a newer release, with only a bit of noise. But it is crisp and well detailed with no obvious signs of pixilation or other flaws. I think because the way it was directed itís not going to be a movie that will pop off the small screen, but I was impressed with it.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is serviceable but really, this is mostly dialogue driven with some yelling so there are no chase scenes, explosions or anything of that sort to get that much out of it, though you will get the lovely sounds of screaming adults and kids in one scene. That said, the dialogue sounded clear and one can understand everything.
Four Christmases has a couple funny moments but they are far and few between plus the characters, especially the extended family, are less funny and more just unlikeable. I canít say this was a complete disaster, but as far as romantic comedies go, I didnít enjoy it all that much even with two stars I really like.