No matter how close to your family you may be, there’s always a little stress when it comes to the holiday season. The mad dash to see everyone in the relatively short season can be a little taxing, especially while you’re just trying to buy all of your Christmas gifts, but imagine having to hit four homes in one day. That’s the plight of Brad and Kate, an upscale couple whose plans to spend Christmas in Fiji are foiled by Mother Nature.
Four Christmases is a low-key holiday horror tale for many, as Brad and Kate bounce from dysfunctional household to dysfunctional household to appease their divorced parents. It’s a whirlwind tour of misery that, as one can expect, revels in the reason for the season as the couple discovers things about one another they never knew.
This Seth Gordon-directed holiday romp features all the comedy expected from the man behind Horrible Bosses, with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon filling out the roles of Brad and Kate. If you can relate to the pair, you’ll find their antics available to watch no HBO Max this holiday season. Four Christmases is currently available on HBO’s premium streaming service, and you can find out how to watch it and learn more about the quirky holiday story below.
Four Christmases is available on HBO’s paid streaming service and can be watched with a full subscription or through one of the occasional free trials offered throughout the year. HBO Max currently costs $9.99 / month with ads or $14.99 for an ad-free experience.
To watch Four Christmases on HBO Max:
HBO Max is currently available on most Smart TVs, Windows PC, MacOS, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and most mobile tablets and smartphones.
Release Date: November 26, 2008
Creators: Written by Matt R. Allen, Caleb Wilson, Jon Lucas, & Scott Moore
Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Favreau
Synopsis: When a pair of upscale San Francisco socialites plan a trip to Fiji for Christmas, a fog bank derails their plans, forcing them to spend four Christmases in on day with their dysfunctional families.
Four Christmases is 89 minutes long.
For their third Christmas together, socialites Brad and Kate decide to take a trip to Fiji. When a fog bank rolls into San Francisco, their flight is canceled and the couple is interviewed by a local news station. With their families aware of their derailed vacation, Brad and Kate submit to spending one day at all four households. It’s chaos from the get-go, but the more time they spend with their families, the more they realize how little they know each other and how their perfect San Francisco lifestyle may not be as fulfilling as they originally thought. With the clock winding down on the holidays, Brad and Kate must endure their families while trying to decide if they really belong together.
Four Christmases features a brilliant cast of characters brought to life by these talented actors and actresses.
Vince Vaught gives an air of arrogance to Brad, the leading male role of Four Christmases. Married to Witherspoon’s Kate, Brad enjoys a simple life of luxuries. Vaughn stepped into the spotlight in Swingers (1996) and has had a boastful career that includes The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Rudy (1993), Wedding Crashers (2005), and Hacksaw Ridge (2016).
Playing opposite Vaughn, Witherspoon brings a touch of high society of Kate. The more time she spends with her family, the more Kate realizes her life may be a little empty. Witherspoon brings class to the role, as she’s done to many roles in her past, including her screen debut in The Man in the Moon (1991). She also starred in Legally Blonde (2001), Fear (1996), and Walk the Line (2005).
Duvall’s signature gruffness is in full swing as Howard, Brad’s father and Paula’s ex-husband. Duvall’s career of strong roles kicked off on the stage, but roles like Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) boosted his theatrical presence. The Twilight Zone (1963), True Grit (1969), The Godfather (1971) and The Godfather Part II (1974), and Apocalypse Now (1979) have rounded out his long career.
As the McVie family matriarch, Spacek’s Paula counters Duvall’s Howard in strength and confidence. Spacek broke into Hollywood with Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973) and has since filled memorable roles in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), JFK (1991), Raggedy Man (1981), and Affliction (1997).
Voight fills in as Creighton, Kate’s father and the unmistakable Kinkaid patriarch. Since the 1960s, Voight has imbued dozens of films with his powerful presence, including Midnight Cowboy (1969), Coming Home (1978), Mission: Impossible (1996), The Rainmaker (1997), and Heat (1995).
Steenburgen’s bright personality shines through as Marilyn, Kate’s mother. No stranger to Christmas movies, Steenburgen also starred in Happiest Season (2020), Elf (2003), and One Magic Christmas (1985). Steenburgen has also had a healthy television career with spots on 30 Rock, Orange is the New Black, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
What’s a Christmas movie without all those holiday jingles? Four Christmases: Music from the Motion Picture released digitally the day before the movie by New Line Records. Watertower Music released a compact disc version in October 2009. The 30-minute soundtrack features iconic Christmas classics like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” featuring Dean Martin and Martina McBride, “Sleigh Ride” by Ferrante & Teicher, “The Christmas Song” by Gavin DeGraw, and “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby.
On an $80 million budget, Four Christmases came home with more than $160 million in the global box office. On its opening day, it quickly shot up to the second spot, falling behind Twilight, which was entering its second week of release. The following four days, it retained the top spot and, by the close of Thanksgiving weekend, had earned $46 million. By the end of its second week in theaters, Four Christmases earned an additional $18 million.
Despite a decent showing in the box office, Four Christmases failed to enamor critics. The movie currently sits at a 24% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 41 out of 100 on Metacritic. The Hollywood Reporter was unkind with its assessment, calling Four Christmases “one of the most joyless Christmas movies ever.” The Associated Press offered minor praise, stating it “began with some promise” before jumping into “noisy joylessness [that] sets the tone for the whole movie.”
Holiday movies are no stranger to behind-the-scenes antics and Four Christmases is brimming with its own quirky trivia. Here are some quick facts about the movie and its production:
When looking for Four Christmases overseas, it’s worth noting that its American title may get you no results. In some markets, the movie is billed as Four Holidays or Anywhere But Home, likely to accommodate territories that don’t widely celebrate Christmas.
Seth Gordon was far from an unknown name when he took on Four Christmases, but his first works were not under the thumb of a major movie studio. The film is the director’s first release with a studio, having previously worked on The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters documentary before making his big-screen debut at Vince Vaughn’s insistence.
While filming the dinner sequence, Reese Witherspoon was met with a ceramic plate to the face. The real plate caused some significant damage to the actress’s face, resulting in five stitches and a brief delay in filming.
During the release of Four Christmases, the rumor mill set its sights on Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. According to media outlets, the pair didn’t actually get along on set, resulting in Vaughn’s absence from promotions and interviews.
Many families likely saw similarities between their Christmases and the one depicted on screen. That may be because the overall concept was pieced together from Gordon’s memories of his own holiday hijinx. According to Gordon, the movie was inspired by the tension often felt at his house during Christmas and his sister’s continuous harassment.
See Also: Check out our list of the best Christmas movies on Disney Plus here.
Source: Heavy Streaming
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