Surviving Christmas (2004) Movie review; Could have been good if…

This Xmas film is a weird one, never heard of it before so I went into it open-eyed expecting the worse, a guy who is rich decides to pay a family he has never met before to be his family for Christmas.

It’s an original idea for an Xmas film but there are too many things wrong with it –

First off, you are not aware that Ben Affleck’s character is a millionaire, so when he starts to throw $50,000 around like he was giving away a dollar you start to question when this information was explained.

Ben is good in parts but I feel that he turns off in moments throughout, the audience can always tell (most of the time) when someone is coasting, by this I mean they are just churning out the lines and forgetting that they are supposed to be acting a certain way.

The editing in the first twenty minutes is quite awful, it feels really choppy and does nothing to get the story going.

As a positive, when Ben arrives at James Gandolfini house the comedy is pretty good, Ben and James actually make a decent comedy duo,I think James brought out the best in Ben, when the film is based in the house you have a good movie on your hands, whenever the production team shot anything outside the house it just feels cheap and takes away from the film.

70% bad – 30 % good.


Here is some background information to explain why this movie is such a mess –

The production was shot without a completed script. As a result, there were many delays and arguments over what to shoot. Actor James Gandolfini admitted in behind the scenes interview that most of the film was “improvised”.

Jon Favreau was offered a chance to direct, but made Elf instead.

James Gandolfini was only 10 years older than Christina Applegate, who plays his daughter in the film.



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