The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warmer/New line - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 88 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
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."
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?
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.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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.
- (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
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.
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