Instead of trying to give a separate review for each film I see for Film Quest 2014, on occasion I’m going to lump things together and review them that way. As to whether or not the results will be enjoyable, the jury’s still out. But nevertheless, I’ll be sure to get my opinion across. This time around the theme is Disappointing Christmas movies. Not that the plot deals with disappointment, though I guess, in a way, all three of these films do. But each film is disappointing for a different reason.
Four Christmases – how does a film with Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and Robert Duvall disappoint? With a lame script filled with absurd gags. I don’t always hate Reese Witherspoon in movies, but when I do, she plays a character just like Kate from this movie. This might be the first time I’ve ever disliked a Jon Favreau performance. Ever. The Christmas pageant scene was completely unrealistic, as was the scene with the installation of a satellite dish, and I didn’t find myself laughing at either of them.Before the film ends, it does find its emotional purpose, and while the ending makes sense, it doesn’t do anything to continue the emotional connection that the film started to build in the third act.
[Rating: 5.5 / 10]
Surviving Christmas – the disappointment for this film comes from the fact that people hated this movie. WHY? It has a decent premise, the jokes unfold instead of being thrown at the viewer, James Gandolfini does a very nice job, and there’s a quality ending to the whole story. It never got annoying, only got slightly absurd once, and there’s some real emotion to it. It’s not the best Christmas movie of all time, but it’s worth a watch.
[Rating: 6.8 / 10]
The Muppets Christmas Carol – I usually like Muppets movies, but this was more of a Michael Caine movie with a couple Muppets tossed into the cast. Usually Muppets movies put their own spin on things, but that didn’t happen at all with this classic tale, and that’s a huge disappointment for me. There’s no question that Michael Caine does fine work as Scrooge, but you don’t call something a Muppets movie unless the Muppets somehow transform things. Kermit The Frog didn’t change the role of Bob Cratchit at all, other than being small and green. The only thing specifically “Muppets” about this movie was Gonzo as Charles Dickens the narrator.
[Rating: 5.7 / 10]