Wednesday, December 7, 2022

#31DaysOfChristmas: Surviving Christmas

Watched on: Amazon Prime
Duration: 1 hour 31 minutes
Originally aired: October 22, 2004
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Starring: Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, and James Gandolfini
Please see IMDb for full cast and crew information.


Wealthy Chicago ad executive Drew Latham has long avoided the family traditions of Christmas, but has dreaded being alone on the actual day. So when his tropical Christmas vacation with girlfriend Missy Vangilder falls through and Missy breaks up with him in the process, a self-therapy session leads Drew to decide to relive his best childhood Christmases. With his loved ones long-gone, he decides to rent a family: the Valcos, the current owners of his childhood home in suburban Chicago. Tom Valco wants nothing to do with Drew until an exorbitant amount of money is involved; they draw up a contract which expires at the end of Christmas night. What Drew doesn't (or refuses to) realize is that the Valcos are having their own problems, which his presence exacerbates. Can the Valcos endure their unexpected guest? If they can, will the money solve their problems? Meanwhile, will Drew come to realize what he wants in life and how to achieve it?


This is a Christmas movie in the same vein as A Christmas Carol, kind of. A rich man learns the meaning of Christmas and becomes a better person. Granted he does it by renting a family for the holidays, not by being visited by spirits. 

I think I've seen this movie before now, but when I checked for a review on my this blog, nothing came up, so I didn't review it if I have seen it before. There's just one scene that's kind of really hard to forget that was quite familiar to me. 

This movie features a lot of manufactured Christmas joy, but that's kind of the point. Ben Affleck was paying for a Christmas like the ones he had as a child, and I'm no longer convinced this movie is fictional. LOL. They pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it as a family, the kids go sledding together, and the whole family goes Christmas shopping at the mall (it was the early 2000's when shopping at the mall was still a thing). 

This movie probably had more star power than any other movie I will watch this year, at least for review purposes. And it's more com than rom, but we still get to the money shot in the end. - Katie 


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