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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Fathers belittle their sons; brothers beat on each other; mothers neglect their daughters in pursuit of their next romance; and a father finally confesses to being a horrible role model. Plus, two people discover they have many more differences than they cared to admit. The lead couple live a Yuppie-fied life in which vacationing in exotic resorts seems to be the main engine of their relationship. Still, even the most awkward situation is mined for humor, and in the end, trite as it may sound, they find their way back to each other.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of heavy-duty wrestling that, at first, seems purely funny until you realize there's a bullying element to it. Some yelling and screaming. A man falls off the roof clutching an antenna, starting a chain reaction that has the television smashed to bits and a fire igniting on the carpet.
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Sex, Romance & NudityWithin the first half hour, a couple indulges in some serious double entendre and then makes out heavily in a bathroom stall; later, it's implied that they have sex (audiences just see them leaving a bathroom looking slightly unkempt). An older woman has a relationship with her son's best friend, and he discusses their sex life. Another woman is involved with a "rock star"-like pastor and drops sexual innuendoes, even ones aimed at her daughter's boyfriend. Men openly ogle women's cleavage.
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Strong language includes "a--hole," "s--tty," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Product mentions and placement include Direct TV, Xbox, EPT (pregnancy test), Stanford, jump-jumps, breast pumps, and more.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's a fair amount of social drinking; one character seems to spend a lot of time brooding while clutching a beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this romantic comedy is riddled with gags centering on major family dysfunction. And there's real bite underneath the laughs: The central couple (played by teen favorites Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn) finds out soon enough that they don't really know enough about each other, and their families beat them up -- both physically and emotionally. It's all played for laughs, of course, which takes some of the edge off, but younger kids may still wind up perturbed by the scenes of familial mayhem. There's also some swearing (including "s--t") and social drinking, as well as some innuendo and implied sex. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though FOUR CHRISTMASES is predictable and sort of comes off like a hybrid episode of Family Feud and Girls Gone Wild, it's hard to resist Vaughn and Witherspoon's appeal. They tap into the humor of one outlandish situation after another (perhaps one too many, actually) without losing their zeal or charisma. And the supporting cast reads like the Hollywood Walk of Fame (who knew Spacek was good for laughs?).
But the high-wattage cameos end up feeling a bit overdone, given that some of them -- especially Voight -- aren't given very much to do. Plus, comic timing aside, for a couple supposedly madly in love, Vaughn and Witherspoon don't have a whole lot of chemistry. We don't so much hope that they find their way back to each other because we believe in them, but rather because it's what we expect of romantic comedies. Overall, Four Christmases isn't a particularly memorable holiday gift, but they can't all be. At least it's not a fruitcake.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.