Four Christmases

Rated 3.0

Four-upping Meet the Parents, Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play a childless, unmarried, mutually self-satisfied couple accustomed to sneaking away together for Christmas but reluctantly compelled this year to visit, in rapid succession, all four of their divorced parents (Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Voight and Sissy Spacek). High jinks ensue, challenging the couple’s intimacy—particularly a twice-quoted assertion that “you can’t spell families without lies”—and allowing them some very vaguely Dickensian glimpses of their pasts, their possible futures and a present they hadn’t recognized. With so much to accomplish (four screenwriters, too), director Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) doesn’t fuss much over development or coherence, preferring instead to let the actors—well, the lead actors, anyway—flaunt their respective charms. It’s a stocking stuffer of a movie, underfunny and insubstantial, but sweet and innocuous.