Surviving Christmas (2004)



Critic Consensus: Surviving Christmas is unpleasant characters attacking each other for 90 minutes before delivering a typical, hollow anti-consumerist message

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Movie Info

Facing another Christmas alone, Drew Latham decides to go back to his idyllic childhood home to spend the holidays with family. There is, however, one problem: the people living there now are not Drew's family. Nevertheless, Drew has his mind set on an old-fashioned family Christmas, and the fact that the "family" in question, the Valcos, are complete strangers, isn't about to put a crimp in his plans. Offering them a small fortune, Drew bribes his newfound "parents" to let him spend Christmas in their home, pretending to be part of the family. Just when the Valcos begin to question if any amount of money is worth being dragged all over town on such traditional family holiday excursions as Christmas shopping and the requisite choosing of the Christmas tree, their eldest daughter Alicia comes home for the holidays, with no intention of adopting a new "brother."
PG-13 (for sexual content, language and a brief drug reference)
Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:

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Ben Affleck
as Drew Latham
James Gandolfini
as Tom Valco
Christina Applegate
as Alicia Valco
Catherine O'Hara
as Christine Valco
Josh Zuckerman
as Brian Valco
Bill Macy
as Doo-Dah
Jennifer Morrison
as Missy Vanglider
Udo Kier
as Heinrich
David Selby
as Horace Vanglider
Stephanie Faracy
as Letitia Vanglider
Stephen Root
as Dr. Freeman
Sy Richardson
as Doo-Dah Understudy
Tangie Ambrose
as Kathryn
Phill Lewis
as Levine The Lawyer
as Santa
Kate Hendrickson
as Santa's Photographer
Hailey Johnson
as Little Girl
Bridgette Ho
as Five-Year-Old
Sean Marquette
as Older Brother
Caitlin Fein
as Freeman Twin
Amanda Fein
as Freeman Twin
Kent Osborne
as Marley
Bill Saito
as Christmas Past
Michael Patrick Bell
as Christmas Present
Michael Bell
as Christmas Present
Joshua Siegel
as Young Scrooge
Josh Siegel
as Young Scrooge
Sonya Eddy
as Security Lady
Bernard Smalls
as Security Man
Ron Karabatsos
as Deli Man
Wynn Irwin
as Customer
Angela Gacad
as Cute Girl At Play
Tom Kenny
as Man Wrapping Gift
Joan Blair
as Lonely Lady
Joan M. Blair
as Lonely Lady
John Carter Brown
as Depressed Donator
William Thomas
as Choir Director
William Thomas Jr.
as Choir Director
Karen Furno
as Choir Member
Linda Kerns
as Choir Member
Cynthia Marty
as Choir Member
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Critic Reviews for Surviving Christmas

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (32)

Pique on earth and ill will toward men permeate this mirthless comedy.

Full Review… | March 5, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The movie is dead from the outset given the artificiality of the premise about a lonely rich guy who hires the folks living in his boyhood home to be his family for the holidays.

March 5, 2007
Associated Press
Top Critic

The moral is that money can indeed buy happiness.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Surviving Christmas is about as funny as a rubber crutch for Tiny Tim.

Full Review… | October 22, 2004
Toronto Star
Top Critic

There's a lot to not buy in Surviving Christmas. I recommend not buying.

Full Review… | October 22, 2004
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Maybe the worst thing that can be said for Surviving Christmas is that it doesn't succeed even on its humble level of aspiration.

Full Review… | October 22, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Surviving Christmas


Even for a xmas movie, this is pretty poor. Ben Affleck is really hammy in this, but I guess it's not really his fault as the script is just unbelievable (and not in a good way!). Who would seriously believe that a yuppie guy with a beautiful apartment would pay some random family to pretend to be his over xmas because they happen to live in the house he grew up in? And along the way he falls in love with his pretend "sister" who hates his guts (Christina Applegate - main reason I even bothered). It has a few small moments that are mildly amusing, but far and few between. I guess the xmas lights in it are pretty. Lol. What else can you say about it...

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Surviving Christmas has got to be one of the worst Christmas films that I've seen. With a terrible cast, and directing, this film fails delivering laughs and ends up being a forgettable film that is simply not worth your time. This film has very poor acting, a bad story that just isn't interesting. I really didn't enjoy the film, and I thought it missed the mark in many ways. The film could have been good, but it simply doesn't have anything really good going on-onscreen. I'm not a big fan of Affleck's work, and I really hated him here. He really brought down the film, and that wasn't hard because the film was poorly written and wasn't enjoyable. There are far better Christmas films out there; however this one just fails and ends up being quite forgettable. Don't expect anything good with one. As a Holiday film, this one fails and doesn't really have stand out comedic elements. This is a poorly constructed comedy that is forgettable, and as a Christmas film, it fails. The film definitely doesn't have anything memorable about. This is just a bad film with a cast that are wooden and can't really turn the material into something good. This is one of the worst Christmas films that I've seen, and it doesn't make you laugh, in the end it just annoys you at how stupid this film is. James Gandolfini was superb in the Sopranos, but here he's awful. Same goes for Affleck, although I don't like him, he was great in The Town. However here is definitely a perfect example as to why he often misses the mark as an actor. Avoid this film, and watch Christmas Vacation instead.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


This has Soprano...Applegate....and Ben Affleck (not so much...)....and it has some funny moments...But it just doesn't cut the mustard...

Martin Sahlin
Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer

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