Not to be confused with Saving Christmas.
Surviving Christmas is a 2004 Christmas comedy directed by Mike Mitchell starring Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, Catherine O'Hara (who starred in the first two Home Alone films) and the late James Gandolfini.
Drew Latham (Affleck), a cocky advertising executive decides to spend Christmas with the Valcos, a family he isn't related to. Tom, one of the Valco family members (James Gandolfini) doesn't take kindly to the offer since Drew has a highfalutin personality.
Why It Sucks
- Drew is an unlikeable and cringeworthy protagonist.
- The film feels like Christmas With The Kranks, except it focuses on one person.
- Weary dialogue.
- Nonexistent plot.
- Jokes that are completely unoriginal and awful.
- A bunch of scenes drag on for way too long.
- The characters mostly fight for quite some time whether it be psychical, mental or senseless complaining.
- Poor morals for a Christmas movie.
- The film lacks the Christmas charm because of how poorly executed it is and lacking kindness.
- Drew has a change of heart later on and has a good time with the Valcos.
- Tom is a good family man and is no-nonsense.
- Some of the supporting cast members do a good job, especially James Gandolfini.
- Drew has a sad family backstory about his life and you kind of have to feel sorry for him.
The film currently holds a 7% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 3 out of 10 and a critic consensus that states "Surviving Christmas" is unpleasant characters attacking each other for 90 minutes before delivering a typical, hollow anti-consumerist message." Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a zero star rating, however it isn't on his "Most Hated" list and there isn't a written review on his site. Nick Shager of Slant Magazine described the film as "A grating tribute to checkbook cheer, that warm and fuzzy feeling achieved from buying and buying and buying." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly stated in her review that the film "Rarely has a happy ending felt less like a gift freely given or truly earned." and awarded the film with an 'F'. Rob Blackwelder of SPLICEDWire awarded the film a 0.5 out of 4 stars and stated "Christina Applegate has an amazing gift for being neck deep in cinematic manure without actually getting any of it on her." Steve Rhodes of Internet Reviews gave the film a 3 out of 4 stars and stated in his review "Just when you're about to dismiss Affleck and his over-the-top demeanor, the story starts to click. A movie I thought I was going to hate turned into a nice little treat."
Surviving Christmas opened up at #7 on its opening weekend grossing $4,441,356. The total domestic gross would later grow to $11,663,156. In foreign countries, it made $3,457,644. Overall, the film made $15,120,800 against its $45 million budget making it a box office bomb.
- The film was originally going to be released in the previous year 2003, however the studio decided to postpone the release of the film to avoid competing with another Ben Affleck film, Paycheck. To prove that it was going to be released the previous year, a 2003 calendar is seen in the film.
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actor, Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay, but lost all awards to Catwoman.