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October 26, 2004 > Surviving Christmas

Surviving Christmas

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and a brief drug reference

by Susana Nuñez

Amidst the holiday warmth and cheer, Drew Latham sways through his posh life placing a price tag on everyone he meets. If money has gotten him this far in life, it's sure to buy him true happiness; or so he thinks.

The holidays are in full swing and Drew (Ben Affleck) reveals to his girlfriend Missy Vangilder (Jennifer Morrison) that he feels Christmas Day is the time to take their relationship to the next level. A shocked Missy feels Christmas is a time to spend with family, so taking this next step will have to be postponed. Stressing the fact that Christmas should be shared with family, Missy pushes Drew to get in touch with his not-so loved ones for Christmas, as well.

With the option of either spending Christmas alone or with his family, he promises Missy that he will reach out to his estranged relatives and give the old loving family Christmas a shot. Hoping to build some momentum, Drew visits his childhood home. To his dismay, he finds that a new family has moved in; the Valcos. With memories spread all over his beloved home, he can't bear to leave. And he doesn't. No matter how much they beg.

Yuletide merriment is just around the corner! Surviving Christmas is just the right film to welcome the holidays this year. The film's all-star cast includes Sopranos' star James Gandolfini, Anchorman's Christina Applegate, A Mighty Wind's Catherine O'Hara, and Jersey Girl's Ben Affleck. The on-screen chemistry is exceptional, and combined with the original premise and storyline twists, it has all the quirky qualities of a fun holiday film. Director Mike Mitchell states, "I think there are a lot of people who can relate to the predicament of the character of Drew Latham, who will go to any lengths to avoid being alone at Christmas."

The idea for the movie came from writers Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, but they collaborated on the final screenplay with writing duo Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin. The script immediately attracted Ben Affleck, who states, "I thought it had such a strong central premise, which was very funny and gave me a lot of mileage to have fun with the character." Christina Applegate became interested in the film after having found out that her character would play opposite Ben Affleck. "Ben was already attached to it, and I just adore him, so that was definitely a big draw...I [also] loved the concept that money can buy you everything but still get you nowhere."

Although Halloween and Thanksgiving have yet to come and go, it isn't too early to get into the Christmas spirit. Surviving Christmas is an offbeat comedy that will appeal to teens and adults alike, so kick-off the holiday season with an endearing film that's sure to entertain you from beginning to end.

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