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Surviving Christmas


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Editorial Reviews

Directed by Mike Mitchell, Surviving Christmas finds Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) uneager to spend another lonely Christmas in his own home. Longing for holidays past, Drew travels to his childhood home intending to relive the experience of a family Christmas - unfortunately, his family no longer lives there. This represents only a small snafu to Drew, who offers the Valco patriarch and his wife (Sopranos star James Gandolfini and Catherine O'Hara) a huge amount of money if they consent to pretend they are his parents and that he is a cherished member of the family. This entails participating in Latham family traditions, such as Christmas tree selection and crowded holiday shopping excursions. Though the Valcos reluctantly go along with Drew's requests, Alicia, their eldest daughter, arrives at home and refuses to comply with her "brother's" wishes.

Special Features

  • Alternate opening
  • HBO First Look
  • Storyboards

Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara, Josh Zuckerman
  • Directors: Mike Mitchell
  • Writers: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Jennifer Ventimilia, Joshua Sternin
  • Producers: Betty Thomas, Erin Stam, Jenno Topping
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, Surround Sound
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006JMLPM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,979 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Surviving Christmas" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By K. Eshbaugh on February 18, 2006
Format: DVD
I laughed almost the whole time. At times I even had tears in my eyes from laughing. What is wrong with everyone, this movie is freakin hilarious. It is a light hearted, slapstick, funny Christmas family film. Some of the lines were so funny that we still quote them. Hopefully, people will read this review and give this movie a chance. It IS funny. If you are looking for a serious "It's A Wonderful Life" then ok this is not for you. But if you are looking to laugh at some of the Christmas cliches that we all know and love this movie is for you! Some things in this movie are very silly but come on...Christmas Vacation is a great movie. I would rank this with that movie! Enjoy!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kyle R. Pierson on October 20, 2004
When you release a Christmas movie a week before Halloween, I would think a red flag would have to go up. Is it THAT bad that you have to avoid putting it up against other holiday films? That's what I thought, and that's where I was wrong. The film stars Ben Affleck as a lonely man on Christmas who rents a family for $250,000. The film is funny, bittersweet, and had the audience laughing out loud on several occassions. After you catch your haunted Halloween movies next week, make sure you catch SURVIVING CHRISTMAS before it makes its premature departure. It may not go down as an instant holiday classic, but it will definitely lift your spirits this Christmas season. Besides, it beats staying home and watching another two dozen political ads!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Zuffa VINE VOICE on November 2, 2004
Drew (Affleck), after being dumped by his girlfriend, finds himself in the position of being alone for Christmas. Having some money, he returns to his childhood home, and ends up offering the family that lives there, the Valcos, a healthy paycheck to play his "family" for Christmas. Although reluctant at first, they reluctantly agree when the amount of money offered gets to be pretty insane. At first, he rubs them the wrong way at almost every turn, but eventually they settle into a somewhat peaceful coexistence. That is, until Alicia, his "sister", arrives.

Ben Affleck has not had a good movie in a while, and while this is an entertaining movie, it will not be setting him back on the blockbuster path. Affleck plays Drew with, at times, a maniacal glee, forcing the holiday cheer upon the Valcos with reckless abandon. These are the funniest scenes, but are not enough to carry this movie. James Gandolfini is good as Tom, the father that gets his family into this mess and cannot seem to get them out.

Given that this was released before Halloween, one can't help but think that the studio is writing this one off. And while it is not a great movie, it does provide enough laughs for me to give it a very marginal recommendation. If the previews look good to you, you will probably enjoy it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Glowzinski on September 8, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I have this on DVD. It is one of m favorite holiday movies. It is so funny, while at the same time heart warming. It is all about a guy who discovers that love is more important than anything else. It is an odd movie though. A bit slow and there is not much happening. That is one of the reasons I like it so much. It reminds me of one of those TV movies I saw when I was little, back in the 90s. It is easy to understand and in the end, you will have enjoyed it. Do yourself a favor and pick this movie up now, in time for the holidays!!!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sandi on November 9, 2005
Format: DVD
When life's not going exactly the way he wants, Drew (Ben Affleck) decides it's time to go back to his childhood home for Christmas and recapture the magic and idyll of his past. The only problem? His relatives don't live in that house anymore, so reliving his glory days will be much more complicated than he expected. First, he must convince the family (headed by James Gandolfini and Catherine O'Hara) who call the place home to humor him.

We bought this movie last year when it first came out and found it absolutely adorable and very funny. Keep in mind what it is, it is an endearing movie about how incredibly lonely Christmas can be if you don't have family to share it with, it was certainly not intended to generate oscar buzz. Ben Affleck was, as always, outstanding. I just love it and will definitely watch it agaim this Christmas. Happy Holidays!
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 22, 2004
If I see one more Christmas movie with cynical cheer and forced holiday warmth, I'm going to buy a camel and follow stars to the Middle-East. (And it's not even Halloween!) "Surviving Christmas" is the latest of this ghastly genre, a tepid feel-good movie with little heart and no soul.

Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) is a coldhearted exec, with too much money and a newly single status. But he decides to go home for the holidays and reexperience some holiday cheer -- only to have the house's owner (James Gandolfini) come out and whomp him with a shovel. It turns out that the house is now owned by a different family, the Valcos.

Undeterred, Drew decides to "rent" the dysfunctional Valco family and have the Normal Rockwell Christmas of his dreams. To the tune of a quarter-million bucks, the Valcos agree to let their home and family serve his every holiday whim -- no matter how insane or bizarre.

Admittedly, it does get funny at times -- the idea of a spoiled man-child inflicting his Christmas fantasies on an ordinary family is an amusing one. Not to mention the idea of them slowly being driven crazy by said fantasies -- quarter-million or no quarter-million. And that kernel of comic potential is what saves "Surviving Christmas" from being a total disaster. It's a disaster, but not a total one.

But many of the comedy scenarios are very forced; no one in this movie has a single reason to do what they do. The script can't keep itself contained for more than a few minutes before more holiday hijinks spill out like broken ornaments. Not to mention the abundance of Christmas sappiness, and a tepid romance. In a word, the whole thing is monumentally stupid, and stuffed with cliches like a tiny turkey with too much stuffing.
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