Surviving Christmas

Release Date: October 22, 2004

Movie of the Day for Thursday, June 24, 2004
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Ah, the Christmas holiday season. For many of us, it's a time of reflection when we sit in a room full of loved ones and look at shiny, flashing lights and ostentatious ornaments on a tree...a magical tree with gifts underneath it and mistletoe beside it. We'll call Pat Boone's family group A.

And then there are the rest of us who live in the real world rather than in a Hallmark fairy tale. We're the ones who get stuck fighting the crowds in malls, the ones who spent countless hours on end untangling last year's poorly boxed lights, the ones who want to spend the entire day liquored up on mulled wine so that we don't have to hear for the 12,000th time how Uncle Bob lost his toe to frostbite while trapped on a mountain in 1972 and wound up having to eat first his packing mule then soon after, his sherpa. We'll call this bunch trapped in Holiday Hell group B.

Judging from the title, which group do you think this movie is about?

Sure enough, Surviving Christmas is a film which tells the story of a cynic's Christmas probably not unlike the one Bill Murray had in Scrooged. DreamWorks attorneys emphatically require us to point out that the similarities are legally distinct enough that we should define the project as homage rather than duplication. Stealing is wrong, people.

The main character as played by former Jennifer Lopez cabana boy Ben Affleck is a record executive (again, mp3 types, stealing is wrong per DreamWorks legal). Early in the plot, the soulless suit finds himself single when he gets dumped just prior to the holidays. Rather than see the upside that he doesn't have to spend any money on her gift, he grows lonely and bitter. While this might sound like the start of a sequel to Reindeer Games, you will be relieved to note that Affleck does not begin to shoot up the place.

Instead, he decides to return to the only place he ever remembers being happy, his childhood home. The fact that his parents no longer live there does not even deter him. When he reaches the locale, he simply begs the current residents to let him celebrate the holidays with them. They acquiesce, but the record exec is surprised to discover that their family is even more screwed up than his ever was. Psychopathic shenanigans ensue but the aforementioned DreamWorks legal team points out that any resemblance to The Ref is again homage. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Surviving Christmas
Main Cast Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, James Gandolfini
Supporting Cast Catherine O'Hara, Jennifer Morrison
Director Mike Mitchell
Screenwriter Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Distributor DreamWorks
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 92 minutes
Screen Count 2,750
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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