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Four Christmases

Tests the audiences' tolerance of grim cheer
By BRETT MICHEL  |  December 5, 2008
2.0 2.0 Stars

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Rather than the typical snowstorm that strands characters in a Holiday-themed comedy, it's heavy cloud cover that keeps San Francisco couple Brad and Kate (Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon) from catching their flight to Fiji. But the fog also casts a pall over Seth Gordon's narrative-film debut.

Gordon garnered a lot of attention last year with The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a stranger-than-fiction documentary that hilariously detailed the Machiavellian maneuverings of Donkey Kong world-record holder Billy Mitchell to retain his title from challenger and nice guy Steve Wiebe. Appearing here in a small role, Wiebe remains a gentle soul among monsters.

Children of divorce both, Brad (Vaughn seems to be making a fat-period career of spiritless Christmas films) and Kate visit the four sets of families (led by Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Sissy Spacek, and Jon Voight) they were fleeing, in the process testing both their relationship and audiences' tolerance of grim cheer.

82 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Chestnut Hill + Suburbs

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