Saturday, September 29, 2007

Surviving Christmas (2004)

Ben Affleck is well-cast as Drew Latham, a millionaire on the verge of nervous collapse, a man with no sense of self who tries to buy the trappings of life--including the family that just happens to be living in his childhood home. He jumps around with a plastic smile on his face, trying to impose himself on the bribed household, who--even though the parents are on the verge of divorce--are still more psychologically coherent than he is. Surviving Christmas has been unfairly trashed due to anti-Affleck sentiment in the post-Gigli era; though the movie eventually succumbs to bland formula, it has some moments of bracing dark comedy and genuine empathy, mostly thanks to James Gandolfini (The Sopranos, The Mexican) and Catherine O'Hara (A Mighty Wind, Beetlejuice) as the parents--two superb actors who could breathe life into any banal script. Also featuring Christina Applegate (Anchorman, View from the Top).

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8