On DVD: Four Christmases

The key phrase in the promotional slogan above is "no mercy." Nothing worth describing in any detail happens in Four Christmases. There is not a single laugh - earned or unearned. This movie reeks of having been slapped together for an expedient holiday release - there is no evidence, other than the names on the credits, of this film having anything bearing a reasonable resemblance to a screenplay. Four Christmases comes off like the outcome of a few conversations between executives and producers, with the director and the cast being informed of their responsibilities at the absolute last minute. Sadly, that strategy worked, too - at least from a bottom-line perspective. A strong cast, a holiday theme - these are the only ingredients needed for a Christmastime hit. The film was able to dupe holidaymaking families sufficient to rake in $163 million during its mercifully short theatrical run (that's more than twice its inexplicably large budget).

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