The poster for the theatrical release.

Surviving Christmas is a 2004 comedy film, directed by Mike Mitchell and starring Ben Affleck, James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate and Catherine O'Hara. Despite being a Christmas movie, DreamWorks Pictures released it towards the end of October 2004. 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.

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
"Coming Home" The 88

Availability

Surviving Christmas was released on VHS and DVD on December 21, 2004, just two months after its theatrical release. A Blu-ray release followed on August 1, 2017.

Cast

Actor/actress Character(s)
Ben Affleck Drew Latham
James Gandolfini Tom Valco
Christina Applegate Alicia Valco
Catherine O'Hara Christine Valco
Josh Zuckerman Brian Valco
Bill Macy
At Richardson (understudy)
Doo-Dah
Jennifer Morrison Missy Vangilder
Udo Kier Heinrich
David Selby Horace Vangilder
Stephanie Faracy Letitia Vangilder
Stephen Root Dr. Freeman
Tangie Ambrose Kathryn
John BJ Bryant Cabbie
Peter Jason Suit
Phill Lewis Levine the Lawyer
Tumbleweed Santa Claus
Kate Hendrickson Santa's photographer
Bridgette Ho Five year-old
Hailey Noelle Johnson Little girl
Sean Marquette Older brother
Caitlin & Amanda Fein Freeman twins
Kent Osborne Jacob Marley
Bill Saito Christmas Past
Michael Patrick Bell Christmas Present
Amy Halloran Fanny
Joshua Siegel Scrooge (young)
K. Troy Zestos Chad
Sonya Eddy Security lady
Smalls Security man
Ron Karabatsos Deli man
Wynn Irwin Customer
Angela Gacad Cute girl at play
Tom Kenny Man (wrapping gift)
Joan Blair Lonely lady
John Brown Depressed donator
William Thomas Jr. Choir Director
Karen Furno
Linda Kerns
Cynthia Marty
Precious McCall
Anika Noni Rose
David Atkinson
Reynaldo Duran
Michael Kosik
Nicholas Zolbel (uncredited)
Choir
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" • Trolls HolidayHow to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming
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