Funny ‘Christmas With the Campbells’ brings all the holiday warmth — and some weirdness too

“Christmas With the Campbells,” a satirical holiday movie that is affectionately funny, has all the elements of a typical holiday movie: the idyllic country setting, the bustling town square, the love-struck romance, and the colorful characters. But, time and again, the dialogue is a little strange, subversive, and raunchy.

To wit. To wit. When I was nine years old, my stepfather sat me down and said that he wasn’t going to try to be your dad, but he did love being romantic with you mother. So, every holiday, I’m going on a trip to take her to see her, so she can do things to herself. … Have her rub on me, let her pull on me, and incorporate children’s costumes in a more adult manner …”

Brittany Snow’s hilarious reaction to Jesse is priceless. She is sympathetic but also What? Snow’s delightful performance as Jesse involves her deadpan reaction to TMI. For example, Jesse hears from Jesse’s ex-boyfriend about her hyperactive libido, and she explains why her son is so horny.

Christmas with the Campbells

Clare Niederpruem directs “Christmas With the Campbells”. Based on a script by Vince Vaughn, who co-wrote the script along with Dan Lagana (and Barbara Kymlicka), the film bears the hallmark of Vaughn’s trademark humor. “Christmas With the Campbells” is a comedy that pokes fun at holiday movie tropes and embraces the genre. It’s like “Spirited,” a Scroogey musical about Jesse. Every scene where Jesse is called a “whore” by the local gossip, or an older couple indulges into a mixture of grape soda and cough syrup, we get the usual sequences of ice skating on the pond, holiday dances, and talk about a magical “Wishing Tree”.

“Christmas With The Campbells” begins with Jesse and Shawn, her long-term boyfriend (SNL alum Alex Moffat). Jesse talks about photography as her passion, and Shawn responds, “Passion?” It’s more of a hobby. Jesse is excited about their trip to Ketchum to spend the holidays with Shawn and his family. But Shawn decimates Jesse’s world by explaining that he has an interview in New York City for a large accounting firm so they won’t be going to Ketchum. In fact, it’s time for them both to separate.

Shawn says, “I believe I’m holding your back.” “We had a great run. You look as charming and funny as a clown. That —– is always so fresh. “… We kept the fights clean, and the sex messy [and] neither one of us was unfaithful, as far as we know.”

He is one tough guy.

Jesse is adoring her tree while she’s crying to the tune of “Silver Bells” and Shawn’s parents call to tell her she should go spend the holidays with them. She bought a non-refundable flight and has no other options. They love her like family. Is there anything that could make your life more movie-like?

The next thing you know, Jesse is visiting Shawn’s parents, Liz (played by 1980s sitcom legends Julia Duffy & George Wendt), and meeting Shawn’s cousin David (Justin Long). David is an outdoorman who runs a small travel agency based in Colorado. He has a dog named Polo (“Name’s David, my second favorite explorer”), and for some strange reason talks like a Western character. Fall is the title of “nephew.”

David and Jesse start to spend more time together. Shawn arrives unexpectedly and begins to reconsider his decision to leave Jesse. Jesse wears a sparkly outfit to the annual dance. David comments, “You look like a discoball made sweet love to an shooting star.” Shawn’s mom Liz adds a little spice to her morning coffee, telling Jesse that she’s having fun and it’s the holidays. Perhaps I’ll have to have a tall boy for lunch.” Oh, that adorable pooch Polo! He’s got a way with getting in on things.

Brittany Snow is a delight as she plays the role straight through. This generous performance allows Moffat and Long to play the obligatory jerky boyfriend, while Long can go wild with the cornpone cowboy routine. Duffy and Wendt are hilarious together. “Christmas With The Campbells” is like a strangely creative holiday drink. You wouldn’t think that these ingredients would work together but somehow they do.


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