Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara, Josh Zuckerman
Director: Mike Mitchell
FACING ANOTHER LONELY CHRISTMAS, DREW WANTS TO REVISIT HIS CHILDHOOD HOME & RELIVE HOLIDAY MEMORIES. BUT WHEN HE GETS THERE HE FINDS ANOTHER FAMILY LIVING IN THE HOME. DREW OFFERS A NICE FINANCIAL REWARD TO THE FAMILY. BUT... more »
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Vicki B. from PORTLAND, OR
Reviewed on 1/18/2013...
Just try to survive
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 10/23/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If I see one more Christmas movie with cynical cheer and forced holiday warmth, I'm going to buy a camel and follow stars to the Middle-East. (And it's not even Halloween!) "Surviving Christmas" is the latest of this ghastly genre, a tepid feel-good movie with little heart and no soul.
Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) is a coldhearted exec, with too much money and a newly single status. But he decides to go home for the holidays and reexperience some holiday cheer -- only to have the house's owner (James Gandolfini) come out and whomp him with a shovel. It turns out that the house is now owned by a different family, the Valcos.
Undeterred, Drew decides to "rent" the dysfunctional Valco family and have the Normal Rockwell Christmas of his dreams. To the tune of a quarter-million bucks, the Valcos agree to let their home and family serve his every holiday whim -- no matter how insane or bizarre.
Admittedly, it does get funny at times -- the idea of a spoiled man-child inflicting his Christmas fantasies on an ordinary family is an amusing one. Not to mention the idea of them slowly being driven crazy by said fantasies -- quarter-million or no quarter-million. And that kernel of comic potential is what saves "Surviving Christmas" from being a total disaster. It's a disaster, but not a total one.
But many of the comedy scenarios are very forced; no one in this movie has a single reason to do what they do. The script can't keep itself contained for more than a few minutes before more holiday hijinks spill out like broken ornaments. Not to mention the abundance of Christmas sappiness, and a tepid romance. In a word, the whole thing is monumentally stupid, and stuffed with cliches like a tiny turkey with too much stuffing.
The cast makes Ben Affleck has rarely been more unappealing than he is here -- his sharp grin and stiff acting may frighten small children. Applegate flounders unhappily as the token love interest, since her character has no motivation and no chemitry. The rest of the cats is talented but unconnected: Gandolfini is fun but shallow, and always-wonderful Catherine O'Hara does as good a job as she can, but the poor woman is drowning in a sea of sour treacle.
"Surviving Christmas" will only make you want to survive the two hours before this brain-dead excuse for a comedy is over, and you can put on those Charlie Brown Christmas specials."
I guess I am crazy!!!???
K. Eshbaugh | keshbaugh | 02/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I laughed almost the whole time. At times I even had tears in my eyes from laughing. What is wrong with everyone, this movie is freakin hilarious. It is a light hearted, slapstick, funny Christmas family film. Some of the lines were so funny that we still quote them. Hopefully, people will read this review and give this movie a chance. It IS funny. If you are looking for a serious "It's A Wonderful Life" then ok this is not for you. But if you are looking to laugh at some of the Christmas cliches that we all know and love this movie is for you! Some things in this movie are very silly but come on...Christmas Vacation is a great movie. I would rank this with that movie! Enjoy!"
SURVIVING CHRISTMAS isn't such a chore after all!
Kyle R. Pierson | El Paso, TX | 10/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When you release a Christmas movie a week before Halloween, I would think a red flag would have to go up. Is it THAT bad that you have to avoid putting it up against other holiday films? That's what I thought, and that's where I was wrong. The film stars Ben Affleck as a lonely man on Christmas who rents a family for $250,000. The film is funny, bittersweet, and had the audience laughing out loud on several occassions. After you catch your haunted Halloween movies next week, make sure you catch SURVIVING CHRISTMAS before it makes its premature departure. It may not go down as an instant holiday classic, but it will definitely lift your spirits this Christmas season. Besides, it beats staying home and watching another two dozen political ads!"