"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, December 13, 2008

SNMR 5.26: "Surviving Christmas"

Continuing with the month long Christmas theme, tonight's SNMR feature is "Surviving Christmas" (2004, PG-13, 91 minutes), starring Ben Affleck, James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate, Catherine O'Hara, Josh Zuckerman and Jennifer Morrison. The film was directed by Mike Mitchell.

PLOT SUMMARY: Rich executive Drew Latham (Affleck) doesn't like being alone at Christmas. When his girlfriend turns down an all expenses paid tropical vacation for the holiday, Drew faces the real and frightening possibility of spending Christmas alone. On the advice of a psychologist (cameo by Steven Root), Drew travels back to his childhood home to make peace with Christmas disappointments past and decides to make an offer the father of the family (Gandolfini) can't refuse, much to the chagrin of his wife (O'Hara) and daughter (Applegate). With one swift shovel-blow to the back of the head, the fun begins.

MY OPINION: For many folks, the title will win you over (or at least make you curious) as we all try to get through the holidays. I had never heard of this movie before and found it only because I was at the library scouting out anything resembling a Christmas movie to review in this column this month and for over there on BIG SCREEN. I liked this movie, even though I don't really consider it to be a Christmas movie. It's more like a movie that happens to take place at Christmas. There are spots in the film where I couldn't help but laugh [and laugh hard] and there are spots where it was all I could do not to groan and roll my eyes at the stupidity/tastelessness of it. What makes this movie better than you might think is the comedic performance of James Gandolfini. Yes, James Gandolfini. Ben Affleck has never been one of my favorite actors, but plays his hogh strung, obnoxious character very well. Does a movie like this need a sappy romantic relationship thread in the story? No. Yet we have one all the same. Christina Applegate and Catherine O'Hara are very funny actresses and have some good lines, given the material. I got some laughs out of this film so I say that it is a worthwhile rental-- if you can find it.

**½ out of *****

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