Every holiday season, treacly yuletide-themed romantic comedies pile up like so much unwanted fruitcake, but Four Christmases goes for a bitter twist: A young couple (Vaughn and Witherspoon), each with divorced parents, are forced to celebrate one excruciating Christmas with all four of their screwed-up families. "This script had a fun outlawness to it," says Vaughn, starring in his second straight holiday comedy after last year's Fred Claus. "This couple tries to avoid their families on the holidays because it's too overwhelming." Also bucking convention, Vaughn and Witherspoon who are both producers on the project brought on Gordon, who directed last year's critically lauded videogame documentary The King of Kong but has never helmed a nondoc feature. "It was baptism by fire," says Gordon. "I was either going to be ready or I wasn't." Scary Christmas!
OUR TWO CENTS In a genre that can be pretty ho-ho-hum, the oil-and- vinegar pairing of Witherspoon and Vaughn offers a little bite. 11/26
DEEP DIVE Gordon’s personal website, sethlewisgordon.com, offers a tour through his surprisingly varied credits, including King of Kong, the Dixie Chicks documentary Shut Up and Sing, and the acclaimed rock doc New York Doll (Nov. 26)