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Surviving Christmas poster

The poster for the theatrical release.

Surviving Christmas is a 2004 comedy film, directed by Mike Mitchell and starring Ben Affleck. Despite being a Christmas movie, DreamWorks SKG released the movie towards the end of October. This was due to it being advanced from December 2003 to avoid clashing with Affleck's other film, Paycheck. The movie received negative reviews and was a box office failure. It was released on VDVD & VHS on December 21, 2004, just two months after its theatrical release.

Summary

It's the Christmas season. Wealthy Chicago ad executive Drew Latham has long avoided the family traditions of Christmas, but has dreaded being alone on the actual day. So when his tropical Christmas vacation with girlfriend Missy Vangilder falls through with Missy breaking up with him in the process, Drew, in going through some self-therapy, decides what he really needs is to relive the memorable Christmases from his childhood, which includes spending time with his parents and younger brother. As that is not possible, he decides to rent a family, namely ones he's never met before, the Valcos - husband and wife Tom and Christine and their teenaged son Brian - who now live in Drew's childhood home in suburban Chicago. Tom initially wants nothing to do with Drew until an exorbitant sum of money is involved, all written in a contract which expires at the end of Christmas day. What Drew is initially unaware of, or what he chooses to remain ignorant about, is that the Valcos are going through their own family problems, which are only exacerbated by Drew's presence. For the Valcos, the questions become whether they can endure Drew's stay until the end of Christmas day, and if they can if the money will solve their family problems. In the process, Drew may come to an admission to himself of what he wants in life and perhaps how best to achieve it. The achieving it may be difficult if he doesn't fully know that life, and as external forces come into play to complicate matters.

Music

Soundtrack

Song Performer
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" Andy Williams
"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" Ed Hartman
"O Christmas Tree" Ben Affleck and James Gandolfini
"Jingle Bell Rock" Chet Atkins
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" Lou Rawls
"Christmas Wrapping" The Hit Crew and The Waitresses
"Disco Pimp" David Hilker & John Costello
"What's Your Name?" Lynyrd Skynyrd
"Crash" The Primitives
"Cherry Pie" Warrant
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" Judy Garland
"Feliz Navidad" José Feliciano
"Happy Holidays (Beef Wellington remix)" Bing Crosby
"Away in a Manger" Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia
Peter Breiner (conductor)
"Coming Home" The 88

Cast

Actor/actressCharacter(s)
Ben AffleckDrew Latham
James GandolfiniTom Valco
Christina ApplegateAlicia Valco
Catherine O'HaraChristine Valco
Josh ZuckermanBrian Valco
Bill MacyDoo-Dah
Sy RichardsonDoo-Dah (understudy)
Jennifer MorrisonMissy Vangilder
Udo KierHeinrich
David SelbyHorace Vangilder
Stephanie FaracyLetitia Vangilder
Stephen RootDr. Freeman
Tangie AmbroseKathryn
John BJ BryantCabbie
Peter JasonSuit
Phill LewisLevine the Lawyer
TumbleweedSanta Claus
Kate HendricksonSanta's photographer
Bridgette HoFive year-old
Hailey Noelle JohnsonLittle girl
Sean MarquetteOlder brother
Caitlin & Amanda FeinFreeman twins
Kent OsborneJacob Marley
Bill SaitoChristmas Past
Michael Patrick BellChristmas Present
Amy HalloranFanny
Joshua SiegelScrooge (young)
K. Troy ZestosChad
Sonya EddySecurity lady
SmallsSecurity man
Ron KarabatsosDeli man
Wynn IrwinCustomer
Angela GacadCute girl at play
Tom KennyMan (wrapping gift)
Joan BlairLonely lady
John BrownDepressed donator
Choir
William Thomas Jr. (director)Karen FurnoLinda Kerns
Cynthia MartyPrecious McCallAnika Noni Rose
David AtkinsonReynaldo DuranMichael Kosik
Nicholas Zolbel (uncredited)
Jon Simanton
Allison Queal
Kacie Borrowman
Elves
Ray Buffer (uncredited)Arnie
Bryan Fisher (uncredited)Steve
Katy Maloney (uncredited)Crazy airport traveler
Marshall Manesh (uncredited)Janitor
Maureen Mendoza (uncredited)Flight attendant
Marcio Rosario (uncredited)Husband
Susanna Velasquez (uncredited)Wife
Oral Sledge (uncredited)Outdoor Xmas shopper
Denice Storey (uncredited)Window shopper
Richard Strobel (uncredited)
John Thurner (uncredited)
Brigitte Wulf (uncredited)
Shoppers

External links

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DreamWorks
"Spawn of Santa" • Surviving ChristmasThe Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas CaperShrek the HallsMerry MadagascarKung Fu Panda HolidayDonkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular • "The All Nighter Before Christmas" • Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury • "Present Tense"