Surviving Christmas

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

In this dark comedy, wealthy executive Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) does not want to spend Christmas alone, so he goes back and visits the home of his childhood. While his family no longer lives in the house, he intrudes on the family that does and bribes them into letting him spend Christmas with them. When Drew plans out a traditional Christmas celebration including shopping and tree decorating, the family begins to wonder if the price is worth it. The eldest daughter (Christina Applegate) wants nothing to do with him. Then Drews high-society girlfriend (Jennifer Morrison), who has been wanting to meet Drews family, surprises him with an unexpected visit with her parents (David Selby, Stephanie Faracy). When they show up, things really get crazy.

Heres a cute story that offers few laughs. Drews girlfriend is self-absorbed, and his new family has issues. The father and mother (James Gandolfini, Catherine OHara) communicate by yelling at each other, and the son (Josh Zuckerman) spends his time in his room looking at pornographic web sites. While there is humor in seeing this horribly dysfunctional family, it is sad to think of real families that are doing no better. Drew seeks comfort for his pain and loneliness by creating a make-believe family, but this one is too messed up to help. At the advice of another, he writes down things people have done to hurt him, says I forgive you, and then burns the paper an interesting exercise that wouldnt be out of place in a Bible study. But this is one more Christmas movie that has nothing to do with Christmas; the only hint of Christ is a brief shot of the nativity. Other than that, the biggest objection to this film is its use of bad language, which makes it more unacceptable to Preview.

Preview Reviewer: Alan Boyer

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times mild (hell 4); strong (-ss 2)

Obscene Language: Many (10) times moderate (cr-p 3, other 1); strong (s-word 6)

Profanity: Many (10) times moderate (MG 6, G 3); strong (C 1)

Violence: Few times mild (snowball fight, women seen putting her head into a gas oven); moderate (man hits another man with shovel and knock him out)

Sex: Few times mild (boy seen looking at pornographic web site)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times mild (old man comments on boy looking at web site and talks about how it is more difficult to view pornography as a teen, boy draws nude picture on steamed up glass)

Drugs: Few times mild (alcohol use few times); moderate (old man seen smoking marijuana)

Other: None

Running Time: 91 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and Adults

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