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FOUR CHRISTMASES

About The Production
"This is a movie about the universal theme of the holidays: anxiety,” director Seth Gordon deadpans, observing that "holidays, home and family have a way of bringing us back to our roots and exposing our vulnerabilities like nothing else. Which, of course, is fertile ground for comedy.”

More specifically, he adds, "‘Four Christmases' is about the ongoing struggle we all face, between who we are versus who we were raised to be and, ultimately, who we need to become. That's why going home can be so difficult. The minute you walk in that door you're confronted by images of who you used to be—or how your parents and siblings still see you—and maybe that's not who you are anymore. It's instant discomfort.”

The only thing worse than having to suffer such a humbling and embarrassing experience would be having to do it in the company of your significant other, that one person above all others in the world you want to think you're cool. Or, at least, normal. Or, at the very least, not genetically compromised by that socially dysfunctional hive you call family.

"In ‘Four Christmases,' Brad and Kate feel that discomfort to the extreme, because they're seeing their histories for the first time through each other's eyes,” says Jonathan Glickman, who, along with Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber, produced the film. "For three years, they've been relating as sophisticated, attractive, confident people. In the course of this one day they see the worst of each other, everything they've been trying to hide and protect themselves from. It all comes out.”

"The truth is, no matter how much you think you know a person, you can always learn more by watching them interact with family and seeing their childhoods revealed. Parents and siblings really know how to push those buttons,” says Vince Vaughn, who stars as Brad.

Reese Witherspoon, who stars as Kate, acknowledges, "The truth is, people tend to evaluate their own relationships in comparison to that of their parents, and that can be a daunting prospect in many ways.”

That's precisely why Brad and Kate have been deftly sidestepping the show-and-tell, notes Vaughn. "They really love each other and don't want to ruin it. As the story progresses, you realize how they've been hurt by their childhoods and the demise of their parents' marriages. They see the stresses and obligations of family life but none of its joy. So they reinvent themselves as independent adults and stay away to avoid making the mistakes their parents made and so have a happier life.”

It's a plan that has been working fairly well, until their Christmas escape gets cancelled and they are suddenly forced to deal with everything…together…all at once. "When Brad and Kate get caught at the airport and roped into a round of family visits, it results in some uncomfortable, long overdue and very funny moments, as they begin to discover some not-so-flattering aspects of each others' pasts. The story then becomes not only about whether or not their relationship will survive long-term in the light of all this honesty, but whether it will survive the day,” says Peter Billingsley, one of the film's executive producers. Billingsley also turns in a cameo as an airline ticket agent facing the couple's frustration when their holiday plans implode.

Appropriately enough, production on "Four Christmases” began in early December, then took a break for the holidays, allowing cast and crew their own private celebrations with loved ones. Naturally, the themes of the movie followed them home. For most, it provided additional comic ammunition for their return to the set.

Gordon recalls, "During the hiatus, I was reminded why this story is so universal. It was tense at home: my sister was annoyed with me, there was this whole thing about who was picking up Grandma for dinner, and I tho

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