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 » IS HIS CASH THE BEGINNING OF AN ANNOYING VISITOR WHO IS OVEREAGER TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 12/1/2017...
Hilarious look at just how desperately alone a high-profile highly paid executive can be at Christmas time. Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) locates the house he grew up in and decides the family now living there need to adopt him for the season. James Gandolfini is hilarious as the homeowner and while hating the interruption loves the idea of a quarter million bucks as payment for a few days of pain and suffering caused by their uninvited guest. lots of fun and great story!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 12/19/2014...
I really loved this movie. It was like no other Chritmas movie that I had ever seen. It is in my library.
Vicki B. from PORTLAND, OR Reviewed on 1/18/2013...
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
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!"
Michael Zuffa | Racine, WI United States | 11/02/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Drew (Affleck), after being dumped by his girlfriend, finds himself in the position of being alone for Christmas. Having some money, he returns to his childhood home, and ends up offering the family that lives there, the Valcos, a healthy paycheck to play his "family" for Christmas. Although reluctant at first, they reluctantly agree when the amount of money offered gets to be pretty insane. At first, he rubs them the wrong way at almost every turn, but eventually they settle into a somewhat peaceful coexistence. That is, until Alicia, his "sister", arrives.
Ben Affleck has not had a good movie in a while, and while this is an entertaining movie, it will not be setting him back on the blockbuster path. Affleck plays Drew with, at times, a maniacal glee, forcing the holiday cheer upon the Valcos with reckless abandon. These are the funniest scenes, but are not enough to carry this movie. James Gandolfini is good as Tom, the father that gets his family into this mess and cannot seem to get them out.
Given that this was released before Halloween, one can't help but think that the studio is writing this one off. And while it is not a great movie, it does provide enough laughs for me to give it a very marginal recommendation. If the previews look good to you, you will probably enjoy it."
It's not that bad...
T. Oneil | Milwaukee, WI | 12/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been watching the movie constantly on HBO. I think the movie's problem is that it isn't a family movie (a couple of scenes push it out of that genre) and it's too cute to be an adult movie.
Give the movie a chance. The characters really grow on you."