At Christmas, there’s always time for movies in my schedule. This year, I watched The Holiday early on, but then got stalled and interrupted by life. Finally, last weekend, I sat down with my DVD player and watched two from my personal library, Four Christmases and Love Actually.
Let’s start with Four Christmases. I have a healthy respect for Reese Witherspoon, and Vince Vaughn can usually play a character successfully. Under those circumstances, this movie was within the realms of acceptability, even though it gets negative online reviews. Basically, Witherspoon and Vaughn are San Francisco yuppies who have decided to remain unmarried and childless. They have escaped their crazy childhoods and usually evade going home (to each of their four divorced parents’ households) for Christmas by pretending to be doing relief work in some country where they are unreachable. Instead, they take a self-indulgent expensive vacation.
When San Francisco is fogged in and they are interviewed on local news about their changed plans, they are forced into visiting their families for Christmas. It’s pretty broad satire with a lot of physical comedy thrown in, and if your family even comes close to the caricatures presented, you may feel a trifle uncomfortable. Since my family NEVER exhibits any of the traits that are being lampooned, I can laugh at their adventures without feeling criticized. Four Christmases is only worth a once-a-year viewing, but is still fun.
That brings us to my all-time favorite, Love Actually. I’m a sucker for a romantic ensemble movie, and I have loved the interwoven plot design of Love Actually since the first time I saw it. I’ve watched it MANY times since then, by the way, and continue to love it every time. I never tire of Bill Nighy’s pitch-perfect aging rock star or Hugh Grant’s conflicted prime minister. Each love story and the characters involved in it is compelling and realistic. My personal favorite is when Kris Marshall, playing Colin Frissell, packs his backpack full of condoms and flies from London to Milwaukee to find a willing American girl who thinks he’s “Prince William without the scary family.” His visit to a “normal American bar” is hysterical. As I write this, I keep thinking of other scenes that tickle my fancy and make me smile every time. Love Actually is not for children — big warning on that — but for adults with a sense of humor, I highly recommend it.
It looks like time has gotten the best of me, and I may not actually get to watch White Christmas BEFORE Christmas. Somehow,I don’t seem to have White Christmas in DVD; how did that happen? Maybe I can pick one up tomorrow, because it’s not really Christmas until Rosemary Clooney sings “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me.”
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. See you tomorrow.