Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Four Christmases Gets Coal

Plus, Australia falls short of epic status, and Transporter 3 drives in circles.

by | November 25, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got yuletide yucks (Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon), an epic from Down Under (Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman), and deadly deliveries (Transporter 3, starring Jason Statham). What do the critics have to say?

There’s nothing wrong with misanthropic holiday comedies — as long as they generate laughs. Otherwise, they just seem dispiriting, which is how critics describe Four Christmases. The movie stars Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as an unmarried couple that tends to spend holidays on vacation (disguised as charity work) to avoid each of their divorced parents’ less-than-festive yuletide celebrations. However, when they’re left stranded at the airport, they decide to suck it up and pay all four of their parents a visit, with embarrassing situations ensuing. The pundits say Four Christmases is a sour, broad collection of stereotypes and clichés, and even if Vaughn and Witherspoon try their best, they don’t have much to work with, script-wise. At 27 percent on the Tomatometer, this Christmas isn’t a gift.

“We loved it. It was much better than Cats. We will see it again and again.”

Baz Luhrmann is not a director known for his restraint. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge were big, bombastic entertainments that took bold stylistic chances. The critics say his latest, Australia, is similarly audacious, but doesn’t totally cohere, despite some excellent moments. Set just before World War II, Australia stars Nicole Kidman as an English aristocrat who falls for a cattleman (Hugh Jackman) who works on her late husband’s ranch; later, they attempt to care for a half-Aboriginal child, but are stymied by the government’s cruel racial policies. The pundits say Australia is an elegant, genre-hopping romp with much to enjoy; unfortunately, they also note its lurches in tone make the film less than the epic it intends to be. At 50 percent on the Tomatometer, you may not want to say “g’day” to Australia.

If you were ever considering messing with Hugh Jackman, now would not be the time.

The first two Transporter films, while not terribly realistic or character-driven, were efficient, brisk action pictures buoyed considerably by the presence of Jason Statham. However, critics say the third time’s definitely not the charm for this franchise. In Transporter 3, Statham again plays Frank Martin, an expert driver who delivers high-value packages for mysterious clients; this time, it’s the kidnapped daughter of a Ukrainian official. Unfortunately, both Martin and his cargo are wearing bracelets that are set to explode if they venture too many feet away from his Audi. The scribes say the third installment is lacking the sense of zippy fun that Transporter fans have come to expect, and the result is noisy, sometimes morose, and generally uninspired. At 26 percent on the Tomatometer, Transporter 3 is the series’ worst-reviewed entry. (Check out Statham’s five favorite movies here.)

Despite warnings from saftey officials, Jason Statham really doesn’t want to wear a bike helmet.

Also opening this week in limited release is Gus Van Sant‘s Milk, starring Sean Penn as the first openly gay major officeholder in the United States; it currently stands at 97 percent on the Tomatometer.

Recent Vince Vaughn Movies:

Tag Cloud

PaleyFest FXX children's TV Nat Geo adventure The CW Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Walking Dead PBS Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Mary poppins Animation 71st Emmy Awards Holiday nature History Bravo Pride Month Box Office Marvel A&E Ovation Nickelodeon cops television Universal El Rey SXSW elevated horror TBS Disney Channel cancelled crime indie science fiction Sundance comics christmas movies Oscars Lifetime Christmas movies GoT quibi TV renewals dceu zombie LGBT See It Skip It romance A24 YA spinoff discovery Brie Larson FOX versus Comic Book name the review Martial Arts Watching Series E! sag awards strong female leads Thanksgiving MCU E3 romantic comedy Superheroes Teen Pet Sematary rotten movies we love DC Comics Mystery Pop RT21 spanish language dramedy batman Warner Bros. period drama 24 frames Amazon book Shondaland Dark Horse Comics theme song GIFs Hulu directors jamie lee curtis facebook 2015 joker Cosplay Crunchyroll Video Games X-Men Epix Turner Classic Movies FX documentary Set visit cooking ESPN DirecTV Election Classic Film serial killer Extras RT History IFC Films independent SDCC Television Academy Marvel Television toy story anthology Star Wars Western Star Trek Stephen King Sundance TV ABC Family screen actors guild Tarantino TLC zero dark thirty foreign historical drama animated 45 Binge Guide game show 21st Century Fox Cannes cars dragons Holidays Apple TV Plus Rock space WGN cartoon Countdown mutant talk show police drama hispanic Turner VICE NYCC American Society of Cinematographers Sci-Fi San Diego Comic-Con Syfy Reality GLAAD spain Summer crime thriller Red Carpet Spring TV 2019 OWN sitcom The Purge Disney stand-up comedy Kids & Family Grammys First Look Lifetime harry potter Arrowverse WarnerMedia cancelled TV series Sony Pictures award winner Trivia composers Character Guide YouTube Premium Columbia Pictures The Arrangement Certified Fresh cancelled television TV politics YouTube Christmas Logo Awards Tour cinemax cults DGA Reality Competition aliens blockbuster USA Network ratings witnail Music Ghostbusters Amazon Prime VH1 TCM Apple Showtime thriller National Geographic revenge Netflix Christmas movies war justice league mockumentary NBC Starz Action crime drama Rocketman kids Best and Worst Valentine's Day true crime Pirates Rom-Com Baby Yoda hist political drama Comedy Paramount Network Avengers New York Comic Con TCA Fall TV zombies finale MTV Awards golden globes Women's History Month Trailer what to watch Calendar miniseries Chernobyl Paramount green book YouTube Red Hallmark Fantasy vampires Writers Guild of America OneApp 20th Century Fox Country Disney+ Disney Plus series Endgame Lucasfilm CBS All Access Pixar festivals TCA Winter 2020 reboot Family Musicals psychological thriller TNT ITV Superheroe Disney streaming service Captain marvel Cartoon Network Emmy Nominations cancelled TV shows Super Bowl Masterpiece Premiere Dates CBS TCA 2017 BBC America Infographic Toys medical drama biography Ellie Kemper Amazon Prime Video Marvel Studios Shudder Musical transformers Esquire blaxploitation comic supernatural Opinion robots HBO Max south america disaster Biopics spy thriller Food Network First Reviews tv talk crossover breaking bad Discovery Channel dc Walt Disney Pictures Podcast sports Drama MSNBC Apple TV+ Horror 2016 Mudbound 2017 ghosts Spike LGBTQ Academy Awards President boxoffice Nominations game of thrones Photos latino Trophy Talk slashers 2020 Polls and Games Anna Paquin Schedule Lionsgate CNN Tubi spider-man Heroines Winter TV Creative Arts Emmys Winners Marathons TruTV casting sequel binge Crackle Fox News SundanceTV video Mary Tyler Moore TIFF Freeform Sneak Peek Tumblr teaser USA CW Seed APB Britbox unscripted CMT comiccon canceled The Witch free movies streaming natural history richard e. Grant Adult Swim docudrama Mindy Kaling 007 IFC ABC Comedy Central movies psycho Mary Poppins Returns canceled TV shows Peacock Emmys Spectrum Originals 2018 anime travel Tomatazos Film Festival Interview based on movie social media doctor who DC streaming service Sundance Now renewed TV shows Disney Plus HBO technology Hallmark Christmas movies Black Mirror AMC Song of Ice and Fire werewolf cats Comics on TV Acorn TV BBC Elton John Rocky Vudu Year in Review DC Universe BET singing competition Quiz Film adaptation halloween screenings TV Land diversity Netflix