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Four Christmases

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Four Christmases
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySeth Gordon
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Matt R. Allen
  • Caleb Wilson
Produced by
CinematographyJeffrey L. Kimball
Edited by
Music byAlex Wurman
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • November 26, 2008 (2008-11-26)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$80 million[1]
Box office$163.7 million[1]

Four Christmases is a 2008 American Christmas comedy-drama film starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon with Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Voight, and Sissy Spacek in supporting roles. The film is director Seth Gordon's first studio feature film.[2] It tells the story of a couple who must travel to four family parties after their vacation plans get canceled due to dense fog. The film was produced by New Line Cinema and Spyglass Entertainment and released by Warner Bros. Pictures on November 26, 2008.

It received generally negative reviews from critics but earned $163 million worldwide.


Brad and Kate are an unmarried upscale San Francisco couple who have been together three years. Because each of them comes from divorced parents and overall dysfunctional families, they are reluctant to marry and have children. To avoid their families at Christmas, Brad and Kate plan a vacation to Fiji, falsely telling their parents they are traveling abroad to do charity work. When a fog bank grounds outgoing flights, Brad and Kate are randomly interviewed by a television reporter at the airport about their now-cancelled plans. The resulting broadcast puts their families on notice they are stuck at home for the holidays; and, forces Brad and Kate to visit their parents' homes in one day.

They first visit Brad's father; then, Kate's mother; then, Brad's mother, each house with various siblings, extended relatives, and significant others.

As Brad counts down the minutes to freedom, Kate studies their families' lives and takes a pregnancy test on a whim, which is negative. They keep discovering new secrets about each other they had previously been too embarrassed to share, such as Brad's real name being "Orlando", Kate's being ostracized by her peers throughout her childhood, and how Brad's mom's new boyfriend is his childhood best friend. As they continue to learn about the things they hide from each other, their relationship strains.

Kate realizes she wants a deeper commitment with Brad, the prospect of which frightens him when she mentions it. When they finally reach Kate's father's house, she asks Brad to let her go in alone. Inside, she learns how her father has mended his relationships with his ex-wife and family for sake being able to celebrate Christmas as a family. Meanwhile, Brad returns to his father's and they have a quiet talk alone. Brad realizes he fears ending up bitter and alone like his father, though the two reconcile before he leaves. Returning to Kate, they discuss marriage and children before embarking to Fiji.

On New Year's Day a year later, Brad and Kate welcome their first child, a daughter, after spending nine months hiding the news from their families. As theirs is the first baby of the New Year's, a news crew comes to congratulate them— once again revealing them, and their new baby, to their families.


  • Vince Vaughn as Bradford "Brad" McVie, a man who was formerly known as Orlando McVie
  • Reese Witherspoon as Kate Kinkaid, Brad's girlfriend
  • Robert Duvall as Howard McVie, Brad's father
  • Jon Favreau as Denver McVie, Brad's older brother
  • Mary Steenburgen as Marilyn Kinkaid, Kate's mother
  • Dwight Yoakam as Pastor Phil, Marilyn's pastor and boyfriend
  • Tim McGraw as Dallas McVie, Brad's brother
  • Kristin Chenoweth as Courtney Kinkaid, Kate's sister
  • Jon Voight as Creighton Kinkaid, Kate's father who was divorced several times
  • Sissy Spacek as Paula McVie, Brad's mother
  • Katy Mixon as Susan McVie, Denver's wife and Brad's sister-in-law
  • Colleen Camp as Aunt Donna, Marilyn's sister and Kate's maternal aunt
  • Carol Kane as Aunt Sarah, Marilyn's sister and Kate's maternal aunt
  • Jeanette Miller as Gram-Gram, Kate's grandmother
  • Jack Donner as Kate's Grandpa
  • Steve Wiebe as Jim Cootie, Courtney's husband and Kate's brother-in-law
  • Patrick Van Horn as Darryl, Brad's old friend who is now Paula's younger boyfriend
  • Marissa Tejada Benekos as a news reporter who interviews Brad and Kate
  • Laura Johnson as Cheryl, Creighton's girlfriend
  • Brian Baumgartner as Eric, Brad's co-worker
  • Cedric Yarbrough as Stan, Brad's co-worker
  • Skyler Gisondo as Connor McVie, Denver & Susan's son and Brad's nephew
  • Zak Boggan as Cody McVie, Dallas's son and Brad's nephew
  • Haley Hallak as Baby Clementine, Denver & Susan's daughter and Brad's niece
  • True Bella Pinci as Kasi Cootie, Courtney & Jim's daughter and Kate's niece
  • Sterling Beaumon, Ty Brown, Ryder Bucaro, Callie Croughwell, Taylor Geare, Zachary Gordon, Reef Graham, Zai Moore, Destiny Petty, Diamond Petty, Bryce Robinson, Kort Rogers, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Ava Rose Williams, and Haidyn Winther as the kids in the Jump-Jump
  • Creagen Dow as Sheep
  • Noah Munck and Matthew Glen Johnson as the screaming kids
  • Daniel Hagen, Vernon Vaughn, Sharon Vaughn, Ronald D. brown, Jimmy Gonzales, Constance Maris, and Didi Tossapon Banks as the church-goers.

One of the film's executive producers, Peter Billingsley, who had a starring role as Ralphie in the 1983 film A Christmas Story, has a credited role as an airline ticket agent.


Prior to Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon's casting, it was announced that Spyglass Entertainment had set Adam Shankman to direct for Columbia Pictures. Howard Gould was brought in to provide rewrites.[3]

Gordon was brought in as director at the insistence of Vaughn, who had seen Gordon's documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a film, Gordon points out, which, like Four Christmases, has a "traditional three-act structure".[2]

The film began production in December 2007, during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, which meant that no changes could be made to the script.[2] During production, New Line Cinema became a "unit of Warner Bros.",[4] which put the film's completion at risk.[2]


On Rotten Tomatoes, Four Christmases has an approval rating of 25% based on 145 reviews and an average rating of 4.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Despite a strong cast, this sour holiday comedy suffers from a hackneyed script."[5] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a score of 41 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

The Hollywood Reporter called the film "one of the most joyless Christmas movies ever" with "an unearned feel-good ending [that] adds insult to injury"; it criticized the film's script for "situat[ing] Hollywood clichés about Southern rednecks incongruously within the tony Bay Area".[8] Variety magazine called it an "oddly misanthropic, occasionally amusing but thoroughly cheerless holiday attraction that is in no way a family film".[9] The Associated Press said the film "began with some promise" then segued into "noisy joylessness [that] sets the tone for the whole movie"; the review noted that "Vaughn makes the movie tolerable here and there, but this kind of slapsticky physical comedy doesn't suit Witherspoon at all."[10] Frank Lovece of Film Journal International found "no core to their characters. They just embody whatever plot machination the movie needs at any given moment", and that, "Every predictable Christmas-comedy trope gets dragged out like the string of electric lights that is pulled from the wall to whipsaw through the living room".[11] Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four, and wrote his review in the style of a pitch session between a filmmaker and his boss, whereby he derided the film's alleged lack of humour or narrative sense.[12]

Box office[edit]

On its opening day, a Wednesday, it ranked second at the box office with $6.1 million, behind the previous week's new release blockbuster Twilight.[13] It then went on to take the top spot each successive day from Thursday to Sunday, earning $46.1 million and ranking #1 over the entire extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend.[14] In its second weekend, Four Christmases held on to the #1 spot, taking in another $18.1 million.[15]

The film grossed $120.1 million in the U.S. and $43.6 million in foreign countries, for a worldwide gross of $163.7 million.

Home media[edit]

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc was released on November 24, 2009.


Four Christmases: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedNovember 25, 2008 (2008-11-25)
LabelNew Line (Digital)
Watertower Music (Audio)

Four Christmases: Music from the Motion Picture was originally available to download from Amazon (MP3) or iTunes (MPEG-4), along with a digital booklet in portable document format which summarizes the credits of the album along with screenshots and other promotional images of the film. It was released on November 25, 2008, by New Line Records. The compact disc format was released on October 6, 2009, by Watertower Music.

Track listing
  1. "Baby It's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin & Martina McBride  – 2:55
  2. "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays" by Perry Como  – 2:51
  3. "Sleigh Ride" by Ferrante & Teicher  – 2:16
  4. "Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty  – 4:15
  5. "Season's Greetings" by Robbers On High Street  – 2:23
  6. "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms with The Anita Kerr Singers  – 2:11
  7. "The Christmas Song" by Gavin DeGraw  – 3:24
  8. "Cool Yule" by Louis Armstrong  – 2:55
  9. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" by Dean Martin  – 2:33
  10. "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby  – 2:59
  11. "O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Sarah McLachlan  – 3:53

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Four Christmases (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
  2. ^ a b c d King, Susan (November 2, 2008). "Their wishes finally came true". LA Times. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  3. ^ "Spyglass gets 'Christmases'". 10 October 2003.
  4. ^ "New Line Cinema to become unit of Warner Bros". Reuters. February 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "Four Christmases (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 2021-10-05. Edit this at Wikidata
  6. ^ "Four Christmases Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  7. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Four Christmases" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  8. ^ "Bottom Line: A top-drawer cast in a bottom-drawer screenplay". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008.
  9. ^ Review of Four Christmases from Variety magazine
  10. ^ Review: Four Christmases is zero fun, an Associated Press review via the San Francisco Chronicle
  11. ^ Lovece, Frank, Four Christmases (review) Archived 2013-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Film Journal International, November 26, 2008
  12. ^ Four Christmases review from Chicago Sun-Times/RogerEbert.com
  13. ^ "Four Christmases (2008) – Daily Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  14. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results from Thanksgiving, November 26–30, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
  15. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results from December 5–7, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-07.

External links[edit]