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Published on June 19th, 2008 | by simeon

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Surviving Christmas

The first entry for 2004 is “Surviving Christmas” and sadly, it will spread neither laughter nor cheer as it is a film that is so uninspired and boring, that is may well be the worst holiday film in recent history.
Ben Affleck stars as Drew Lathan, a wealthy ad executive who suddenly finds himself alone for the holidays when his plans fall through. In an act of nostalgic desperation, Drew visits his childhood home and decides to rent the occupants and the house to pose as his family for a ¼ million dollars.
As outrageous and unpleasant as this seems to the occupants Tom and Christine Valco, (Catherine O’Hara and James Gandolfini), the influx of cash will come in very handy and they reluctantly agree to the arrangement. Drew throws himself into the part and insists, that the Valco’s allow him to call them mom and dad and perform duties that Drew has created for them such as shopping in Santa hats, tree trimming, and dinner conversation derived from scripts Drew provides.
Naturally this arrangement starts to cause tensions amongst the family members and the arrival of the Valco’s daughter Alicia (Christina Applegate), only exacerbates the situation as Alicia wants no part of the ruse and thinks that Drew is a pathetic individual who attempt to buy happiness as well as the affections of others.
Despite a nice premise, the film goes nowhere as we soon see the same old plot hooks thrown into the pot, but it just doesn’t work. What makes matters worse is that Affleck seems like his is on a sugar high as he is so frantic and eager he comes across as annoying making the eventual transformations that certain characters take towards him even more puzzling then they already would be thanks to the threadbare plot and situations that just do not work.
There are some moments in the film and the supporting cast is great, sadly they are not developed properly and remain unused decorations instead of being allowed to shine.
My advice, leave this turkey alone as nobody would want to survive this Christmas fiasco.
1 star out of 5


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