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

name the review latino Mudbound cinemax FX on Hulu summer preview cancelled television royal family what to watch Polls and Games Masterpiece 20th Century Fox Action festivals Awards politics Peacock Marathons Sony high school streaming movies superman Starz Pop TV werewolf ratings SDCC anime new zealand SXSW Nominations cats Crackle Pixar Tarantino TCA Winter 2020 Epix adventure rotten movies we love Fox News IFC Films The CW National Geographic serial killer all-time Travel Channel Universal 2017 diversity suspense legend comics Country CBS space leaderboard Tomatazos know your critic Apple TV+ FXX Discovery Channel Marvel American Society of Cinematographers TV renewals Marvel Television Summer Video Games 21st Century Fox genre A24 Columbia Pictures witnail joker Lucasfilm video Cartoon Network black Mary poppins Western obi wan TV movies Turner Classic Movies series scorecard Wes Anderson ABC WarnerMedia TV Land USA BBC biopic directors facebook boxoffice 007 PBS scene in color film series Musical DirecTV Best Actor WGN TLC vampires sports Baby Yoda zombie CBS All Access Tokyo Olympics Holidays comic book movie Winter TV art house canceled japanese hidden camera ID basketball international Oscars romantic comedy BAFTA Turner RT History spinoff classics crime HBO Go social media golden globe awards ghosts MGM stand-up comedy Holiday Interview TV TCA streamig die hard kaiju robots APB nfl universal monsters supernatural Trivia TCA 2017 FX breaking bad BET Countdown Awards Tour MTV Marvel Studios Quiz Grammys disaster Comics on TV Instagram Live vs. reboot independent Superheroe ABC Family a nightmare on elm street Trailer Paramount Plus psycho Hallmark Christmas movies Emmy Nominations christmas movies SundanceTV indiana jones docuseries police drama binge Acorn TV comiccon LGBTQ trophy Cannes marvel cinematic universe Spike The Walt Disney Company book adaptation hispanic historical drama Hulu Family Esquire broadcast hollywood travel football animated Netflix comic book movies franchise french young adult LGBT interviews psychological thriller war 1990s The Purge gangster Geeked Week dc telelvision GIFs rt labs 94th Oscars sequel canceled TV shows AMC Best and Worst Neflix ITV Indigenous USA Network Disney Plus Trophy Talk slasher Oscar Mystery 2019 elevated horror CMT Television Academy wonder woman GoT zombies period drama indie hist South by Southwest Film Festival dceu Set visit mob Lionsgate Tumblr remakes CW Seed Shondaland blaxploitation Amazon Prime Video Pride Month satire Endgame Brie Larson harry potter History New York Comic Con Disney Channel archives 71st Emmy Awards 24 frames 99% Hear Us Out TIFF Binge Guide Arrowverse spanish south america quibi Mary Tyler Moore medical drama popular ABC Signature First Look hispanic heritage month criterion Winners docudrama Comedy screenings documentaries Stephen King pirates of the caribbean Pet Sematary OneApp Ghostbusters 2016 strong female leads laika Best Director spy thriller DGA Focus Features YouTube Red Box Office Martial Arts blockbusters screen actors guild 73rd Emmy Awards Kids & Family The Witch First Reviews cars HBO Max Film Festival DC Universe 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Film based on movie nature new york Comic Book Photos scene in color Black History Month documentary Spectrum Originals Television Critics Association 2021 AMC Plus 90s book VOD new star wars movies Certified Fresh Chernobyl Funimation chucky news cops BBC One Toys Sony Pictures free movies concert rotten Mindy Kaling 93rd Oscars razzies venice X-Men Emmys Extras ViacomCBS PlayStation jurassic park stop motion video on demand cartoon Amazon Studios Opinion green book Sci-Fi movies See It Skip It Thanksgiving Disney streaming service Hallmark NBC natural history debate Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt game show Comic-Con@Home 2021 japan Writers Guild of America children's TV discovery Chilling Adventures of Sabrina james bond Native TV One Ellie Kemper political drama halloween tv finale 2020 Food Network 72 Emmy Awards crime thriller The Walking Dead YouTube Premium Hollywood Foreign Press Association theme song Spring TV Pacific Islander critic resources HBO richard e. Grant Creative Arts Emmys VICE Premiere Dates Freeform films Legendary Cosplay Superheroes Shudder President godzilla DC streaming service Pop saw Valentine's Day target El Rey best GLAAD Music MSNBC fresh Elton John comic Broadway superhero parents TCM toy story 4/20 Academy Awards Classic Film Apple Anna Paquin Britbox Pirates Year in Review target scene in color Watching Series Netflix Christmas movies lord of the rings Lifetime prank Exclusive Video golden globes NBA women Tags: Comedy movie teaser action-comedy The Arrangement A&E TNT DC Comics italian mockumentary Best Actress Sundance TV RT21 composers feel good zero dark thirty worst movies foreign Disney+ Disney Plus Logo Vudu jamie lee curtis critics toronto Amazon Prime Sundance Now aapi ESPN renewed TV shows Paramount Network rt labs critics edition TruTV casting Disney Fargo Song of Ice and Fire fast and furious spider-man BET Awards MCU monster movies live event Biopics cancelled kids Red Carpet spider-verse dragons mission: impossible Syfy mutant posters Super Bowl child's play Ovation Fall TV sag awards singing competition kong dramedy rt archives slashers Lifetime Christmas movies CNN Star Trek Nickelodeon crossover Animation Captain marvel doctor who emmy awards Sneak Peek cults Crunchyroll Fantasy halloween Alien Nat Geo spain adenture rom-coms heist movie YouTube Character Guide boxing festival Tubi thriller Amazon television australia unscripted Rom-Com Rocky comic books asian-american E3 Mary Poppins Returns Schedule dark Teen Podcast Apple TV Plus summer TV preview TCA Awards IFC dogs Universal Pictures Showtime Rock Fox Searchlight aliens spanish language sequels PaleyFest nbcuniversal Avengers sitcom anthology HFPA marvel comics NYCC Reality versus transformers deadpool Black Mirror IMDb TV adaptation biography mcc 79th Golden Globes Awards scene in color series romance twilight The Academy Star Wars Drama YA Prime Video scary king kong OWN Image Comics Paramount dreamworks Adult Swim batman justice league San Diego Comic-Con 45 olympics sopranos Comedy Central stoner live action worst Bravo comedies Election award winner talk show tv talk Musicals Dark Horse Comics VH1 true crime science fiction FOX black comedy technology cancelled TV shows blockbuster E! SXSW 2022 Paramount Pictures 2015 Rocketman Heroines reviews cancelled TV series Sundance obituary BBC America Star Wars Celebration Walt Disney Pictures scary movies cooking TBS king arthur streaming dexter 2018 Infographic crime drama Reality Competition Women's History Month Best Picture Warner Bros. revenge Horror Christmas trailers Calendar miniseries summer TV game of thrones