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Four Christmases (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Warmer/New line - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 88 minutes
Genre: Comdey

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Kristin Chenoworth, Dwight Yokam, Mary Steenburgen, Tim McGraw
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Music by: Alex Wurman
Written by: Matt R. Allen, Caleb Wilson, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 24, 2009

"His father, her mother, his mother and her father all in one day."

Film Synopsis:

Every Christmas happily unmarried Brad and Kate escape divorced parents and exasperating relatives by getting on a plane. This year the airport shuts down and the couple is forced to celebrate four family Christmases in one hectic, hilarious day. Can Brad and Kate's relationship survive Four Christmases?

My Take:

Unmarried freewheeling couple Brad and Kate (Vaughn and Witherspoon) go away on vacation every year in order to avoid spending the Christmas holiday with their families. Both sets of parents are divorced which would mean four different stops and besides family can be complicated so why bother? They would make up stories to their parents each year about why they needed to be away, most of them involving underprivileged volunteer work in third world countries. Unfortunately for them this year bad weather strands them as they preparing to leave from the airport and they are unexpectedly featured on the news which sinks their excuse this year since everyone caught the broadcast live. With no other choice they make plans to see each of their parents on Christmas day. Brad and Kate know little about one another's family and each stop provides some interesting tidbits as learned from each side. They have been together for a number of years and decided early on that marriage and children were not part of the equation. During this holiday season they will come to revisit that idea and after meeting their respective families feel completely reassured that their decision was for the bestor will they?

I will be the first to admit that I am a Vince Vaughn fan. Yes he is one dimensional but there is something in his straight faced delivery and amiable nature that works in his films. The glimpses I saw of the trailer for the film made me want to see it but I never got around to it during its theatrical run. The holiday themed plot is usually guaranteed to promote interest and the inclusion of a cast such as this elevated promise. Unfortunately the script was too shallow and attempted to garner laughs via nonsensical situations and one liners that just came up short. I couldn't help but feel that this was a complete waste of great casting. While there were a few funny moments however the bitter far outweighed the sweet and left me checking to see how much time was left in a film that was less than 90 minutes long. I think it would be fair to say that I was disappointed.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some sexual humor and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 80

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Four Christmases comes to Blu-ray from New Line/Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 2 mbps.

This a solid video presentation that offers appreciable refinement, resolute imagery, and varying degrees of delineation in wide angle camera pans. The color range perfectly sets the film's holiday theme and offers bright, eye catching hues. Rendering is clean and depth is appropriate. Fleshtones keep pace with the look of the rest of the film however they occasionally take on a balmy but natural texture that is scene dependent and may be attributable to the lighting. Spot on contrast yields crisp, bright whites and blacks are stable but slightly elevated which leaves them appearing less dynamic and sometimes flat. I didn't see this as a problem based upon the visual style of the film. I noticed some minor digital noise in a few backgrounds as well as the application of artificial sharpening that manifested itself in the form of intermittent halos that weren't visibly egregious. The front heavy Dolby TrueHD surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices were rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for surround activity and extended dynamics however the scene that takes place in the jumpy/blow up balloon house opened up nicely and exhibited enveloping presence and a punchy low end.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Four Christmases Holiday moments - 10 minute featurette

  • (HD) HBO First Look: Four Christmases - Behind the madness - 13 minutes

  • (HD) Seven layer holiday meals in a flash - 10 minute featurette

  • (HD) Gag reel - 2 minutes

  • (HD) 7 Additional scenes

  • WB BD-Live access

  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc

Final Thoughts:

Four Christmases lacks likeable characters, intelligent wit, and genuine laughs which are prime ingredients in any entertaining comedy. That is a shame since its cast is easily strong enough to pull off such an endeavor. Its Blu-ray Disc presentation from New Line/Warner offers admirable audio/video quality and includes a digital copy for those who would like to take it on the go. A rather bland set of bonus supplements round out this package that is probably best reserved as a rental for those who may be curious.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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post #2 of 18
I saw this with my wife last year around Christmas and I agree 100%. I too am a Vince Vaughn fan ever since Swingers, but this movie bored the hell out of me. Don't think I laughed but once or twice and was just ready for the credits to roll.
post #3 of 18
Ralph, your final thoughts pretty much describe my feelings about this movie. On paper it had all of the potential to become a Christmas classic and instead ending up being a bland remix of other movies in this genre. A few laughs but not enough to redeem this film and as my wife said afterward "I don't care if I ever see this movie again". Luckily it was a rental.
post #4 of 18
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

[img]http://serv4.********************/images/21.jpg[/img]probably best reserved as a rental for those who may be curious.

I don't even remember seeing previews for this in the theaters. Doesn't look like my cup of tea.
post #5 of 18
Maybe the high expectation I had for this movie and after I watched,I should better watch Home Alone again for this season greeting.
post #6 of 18
Totally agree Ralph...utter crap of a movie, although the first 15 minutes made me laugh. As soon as the couple starts visiting family, it completely falls apart. Also, is it just me, or did Favreau look "roided-up?"
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

Totally agree Ralph...utter crap of a movie, although the first 15 minutes made me laugh. As soon as the couple starts visiting family, it completely falls apart. Also, is it just me, or did Favreau look "roided-up?"


No more so than the has looked in the last couple of films I have seen him Dave..

post #8 of 18
I like both Vince Vaughan and Reese Witherspoon, and with the additions of Sissy Spacek and Robert Duvall, you would think this would be a winner. Alas, such is not the case.Oh, well, it was only a rental and there were a couple of amusing moments.
post #9 of 18
good review!
post #10 of 18
Rented this movie yesterday evening for my wife. After reading the review and all the negative comments, I did not expect much from this film, but it wasn't that bad - maybe because I prepared for the worst. There were a few humorous moments that made you laugh out loud, but could have been much funnier. The funniest episodes of the movie were already shown on the video trailer.

It definitely was not great, as I expected a few more laughs, but I've seen worse. It does give a glimpse of the sometimes dreaded family gatherings during the holiday season which most of us can probably relate to in some way or other. That part is humorous.
post #11 of 18
vary bad movie
post #12 of 18
One of the more hilarious movies i've seen this year. Especially the part about Vince and his two UFC brothers. lol Although it felt kind of boring after a while. I'd Skip it.
post #13 of 18
I got this from BB in the mail and plopped it into the player with very, very low expectations.

It was better than I expected. The cast was a strong as the humor was weak. Some of the stuff occurring at Vaughn's Dad's house was much too slapstick.

The video quality really kept me watching. Great video throughout. This is something that should be a given with a newer film, but too many movie makers seem to seek a drab palette for their films, with phototography that can be bested by most camcorders on sale a Best Buy.

This film probably has more to offer to the viewer that has gone through the family holiday senerio as a host.

Vince does need to watch his diet. He's plumped up quite a bit since Wedding Crashers. His film mother even makes a remark about it in the film.

Buy this one? No. Worth a rent? Yes - especially at this time of the year.
post #14 of 18
Did anyone else notice this movie had a very grainy film effect? More so than most recent movies I've seen.
post #15 of 18
I did not notice grain at all in the film. Even the city scape night views were clear and grain free.
post #16 of 18
Am new to blu this Christmas and we have watched some of the newer movies like Up and G-Force and Night at the Museum. Have to say I couldn't stop thinking that this looked more like upconverted DVD than Blu Ray.
post #17 of 18
I have to admit to being spoiled by viewing HD.

Many Blu Rays don't look appreciably better than other HD content - even compressed HD cable signals.

If you drop back to upconverted or regular DVD (or SD cable) the difference jumps out due to the lack of detail.
post #18 of 18
I almost brought this thing back after reading the negative comments that you guys posted. But i decided to open the disc because my wife insisted on watching it anyway......

I loved this movie, and so did my wife!

Different strokes for different folks.
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