Projections - Movie Reviews

Surviving Christmas
Surviving Christmas

Starring: Ben Affleck, James Gandolfini,Catherine O'Hara,
Christina Applegate, Josh Zuckerman

Ben Affleck smiles and hams it up throughout this comedy, but no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t make it work.

He plays Drew Latham, a rich ad man whose girlfriend breaks up with him because she’s never met his family. Christmas is coming up and because he has a few issues from his childhood, he decides to visit the home where he grew up and make up for some bad holiday memories. He hires the new owners for a quarter of a million dollars, to let him stay and pretend to be his family for a few days around Christmas.

The family that lives in Drew’s one-time home is far from homespun perfection James Gandolfini and Catherine O’Hara play Tom and Christine Valco, a bickering duo that would take the joy out of anything that they touch. Even their son (Josh Zuckerman) would rather spend time on his computer in his room than join his parents for dinner.

Christine Applegate plays their daughter, who comes home to find a new “make believe brother” has joined their household, and she thinks the whole thing is absurd. Applegate is the only actor who seems to come out of this comedy with any dignity.

Drew has a difficult time getting this bunch to get into the Christmas spirit, but he does his best by insisting they shop for a big Christmas tree, have a snowball fight and sing Carols around the tree. No matter what he tries, the Valco’s have a dour look like they’ve just finished soured eggnog.

Affleck is a pleasant enough actor, but the script isn’t funny and everything he does seems forced. Even Gandolfini, who looks very much out of place, comes off mostly mean.

Surviving Christmas

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