Four Christmases is sold as a comedy about divorce, about having to go four places for Christmas. But it is not about divorce. It is about how warm and fuzzy you will feel with your family this Christmas, even if you have to go four places for Christmas, and about how you should never skip going to your family's houses for Christmas, and about how good you will feel on Christmas night after doing this visiting, and about how the only thing that will make you feel better than doing all this is actually going home and making your own baby right then, that night, who can grow up to visit multiple families on Christmas, because you'll probably get divorced, but it won't matter, because what does matter is family, family is the most important thing.
After I saw Four Christmases, I went home, put on red boxing gloves, and punched the posts that hold up my house very hard. I really did do this. I could not help it. I predict other children of divorced parents who are not picture-perfect will do this also. Why must heartwarming Christmas movies be satanic? Why must they be my personal kryptonite?
Yes. There are some laughs. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon can be funny individually (though their lack of chemistry is record-breaking). And the supporting cast is great: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen, Kristin Chenoweth.
But then the movie veers off into perfect-happyfamilyland, where the lighting is perfect and the tree is exactly the right height for the room and the men are wearing nice soft sweaters and—amazingly!—mom and dad have inexplicably but easily put all that old bad divorce stuff behind them and everyone's together at last and their differences just don't matter and I want them all to drown in their own eggnog vomit.