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Surviving Christmas (2004)


Average Rating: 3/10
Reviews Counted: 112
Fresh: 8
Rotten: 104

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

Average Rating: 2.8/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 2
Rotten: 30

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


Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 28,237


Movie Info

Directed by Mike Mitchell, Surviving Christmas finds Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) uneager to spend another lonely Christmas in his own home. Longing for holidays past, Drew travels to his childhood home intending to relive the experience of a family Christmas -- unfortunately, his family no longer lives there. This represents only a small snafu to Drew, who offers the Valco patriarch and his wife (Sopranos star James Gandolfini and Catherine O'Hara) a huge amount of money if they consent to pretend … More

PG-13 (for sexual content, language and a brief drug reference)
Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
Deborah Kaplan , Harry Elfont
In Theaters:
Dec 21, 2004
Box Office:
Dreamworks - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Surviving Christmas

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (104) | DVD (12)

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.

Full Review… | March 5, 2007
Associated Press
Top Critic

The moral is that money can indeed buy happiness.

Full Review… | June 24, 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

Surviving Christmas is a mediocre ninety-minute sit-com; if you're looking for wit and humor, stay away.

Full Review… | March 30, 2011

You'll be lucky if you survive this dumb movie.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

Ben Affleck needs to stop making movies.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

You may not survive watching it.

Full Review… | December 30, 2006
3BlackChicks Review

Despite the talent involved, this fails to raise so much as a smile, let alone laughs and Christmas cheer.

Full Review… | April 1, 2006
Empire Magazine

If you thought the Ron Howard Grinch movie was the worst excuse for a holiday movie in recent memory, then look out: this one's worse.

Full Review… | January 15, 2005

A colossal turkey.

Full Review… | December 4, 2004

All that's vaguely funny or Christmassy about this are the sweaty beads of desperation which string together like fairy-lights across Affleck's forehead as he hammers out one lame gag after another.

Full Review… | November 30, 2004

Surviving Christmas can't decide whether it wants to be naughty or nice and the end result is a sometime funny story, but with a severe multiple personality disorder .

Full Review… | November 30, 2004

Affleck gives one of the clammiest, most panicked performances I've ever seen. The movie is drenched in his flop-sweat.

Full Review… | November 8, 2004
Philadelphia Weekly

The premise has potential, as does the casting, but the script is so mind-numbingly lazy that it insults its audience at every turn.

Full Review… | November 7, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

With the release of this wretched film, star Ben Affleck takes one more ragged step in what seems his death march from leading man to celebrity game show guest.

Full Review… | November 5, 2004

Easily the worst Christmas movie of all time, and a surefire contender for the worst film of 2004.

Full Review… | November 2, 2004
Combustible Celluloid

Ben Affleck's Christmas "comedy" is a misfire under the mistletoe, even with a germ of a classic tale hidden under the ugly wrapping.

Full Review… | November 1, 2004

Affleck may finally have found a use for his obnoxious personality, because Drew is amazingly annoying.

Full Review… | October 30, 2004
Film Threat

The desperation apparent in Affleck's bug-eyed attempts at whimsy may be the most uncomfortable aspect of Surviving Christmas.

Full Review… | October 30, 2004
Film Journal International

Can't decide whether it wants to be dark or merry, and it bungles nearly every attempt at doing either.

Full Review… | October 30, 2004

Audience Reviews for Surviving Christmas

Nothing short of awful. When picking a film I guess the actor has to first read the script and then read the pay cheque. I can only imagine that the pay cheque made more sense than the script. Truly awful, and that's saying something for a Christmas film! It makes absolutely no sense what so ever, isn't funny and doesn't even have a cheesy moral. Rubbish.

Anthony Lawrie

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.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

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

Super Reviewer

An annoying and silly film which proves that Affleck should stay away from comedies. His character is annoying as hell which makes it difficult to watch but there are some funny moments and along with the message of looking after your family, it makes you feel a bit better inside.

Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer

Surviving Christmas Quotes

Doo-Dah Understudy:
Yuletide's a bitch, ain't it?
– Submitted by Dann M (10 months ago)
Drew Latham:
It's fun just to buy shit sometimes.
– Submitted by Dann M (10 months ago)

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