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neumu
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 
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Cinematronic by Michael Snyder
Film
cinematronic
  Surviving Christmas cinematronic
  director

Mike MItchell

cast

Ben Affleck, James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate, Catherine O'Hara, Josh Zuckerman, Bill Macy, Jennifer Morrison, Udo Kier, David Selby, Stephanie Faracy, Stephen Root

year

2004

rating rating cinematronic
  The holiday quasi-comedy "Surviving Christmas" is a sack of humbug, taking movie script contrivance to a new low. "It's a Wonderful Life" — not! As a star vehicle for increasingly irrelevant leading man Ben Affleck, "Surviving Christmas" is a slo-mo car crash. Rich, shallow ad agency head Drew Latham (Affleck) has alienated his avaricious girlfriend, has no real pals, and doesn't want to be alone for Christmas. On a whim, he decides to hire the less-than-happy Valco family that now lives in his childhood home to adopt him for the holidays. They're reluctant at first, but Drew offers them so much cash they can't refuse. The premise and execution are ridiculous; the back-stories are bogus or nonexistent; and there's a distinct absence of the believable character growth or emotional punch necessary for films of this ilk. It doesn't help that Drew is a jerk played with no depth or comic timing by Affleck. Yet, the true shame of "Surviving Christmas" is the waste of three vibrant actors, all skilled in the comic arts: James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos" and Catherine O'Hara of "Beetlejuice" as the Valcos' bickering father and mother, and Christina Applegate of "Anchorman" as their feisty daughter, destined to be Drew's love interest. It's so devoid of humor and heart that it may be the worst Christmas-themed movie ever. By comparison, a stinker like "The Santa Clause 2" seems like "Miracle on 34th Street."  
cinematronic
cinematronic


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