Surviving Christmas

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A rich but lonely bachelor (Affleck) hires a family to spend Christmas with, in order to recapture the ideal Christmas he never had. Things are complicated when the family's grown-up daughter (Applegate) returns unexpectedly.


Since hitting rough waters in the Hollywood mainstream, Ben Affleck's announced his intention to do more comedy. If this is anything to go by, he is heading out of rough waters and straight towards a Niagra-sized cascade. With a whirlpool at the bottom.

Despite a creaky conceit - obnoxious, lonely media hotshot (Affleck) hires dysfunctional clan to be his family for Christmas - this could have worked with, say, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell or a Ben of the Stiller variety. As it is, an unbearably irritating, shouty, gurning Affleck takes the anaemic script and injects it with strychnine.

Even should-be reliables James Gandolfini and Catherine O'Hara (as Affleck's parents) can't resuscitate this movie out of its comedy coma.

Despite the talent involved, this fails to raise so much as a smile, let alone laughs and Christmas cheer.