As a critique of American masculine delusion, cuts closer to bone than the more sympathetic "Brad's Status". Chase brings a lot of psychotic energy. The casting... very plain people... is also a plus. More retrograde stuff: Poor people are disgusting, Ideal social structure=Benevolent Boss, Disdainful portrayal of the bougie DINKs next door vs. severely fucked but ultimately 'morally correct' nuclear family... blech.
A hokey and strained comedy would be 1 thing, but this has a genuinely vile message. Clark is constantly bemoaning his family's upper-middle class lot in life; he actually seems to think he's poor. Instead of Clark learning that he should be content without a new pool, the film's actual message is that he's been wronged by his boss and actually should have the money to pay for it. How's that for a Christmas message?
Didn't really enjoy this one on release in '89 and re-seeing now for the first time with my own child disliked it even more. The misses certainly outweigh the hits laughwise in this entry. So many genuinely funny people under-used. One question: if one was married to Beverly D'Angelo why in the world would his eye wander? Just saying. A few good seasonal laughs but a holiday staple..I think not.
A classic Christmas comedy that successfully mixes slapstick absurdity with the sometimes disastrous nature of family gatherings. Add a dash of Christmas spirit and a bug-eyed hillbilly cousin and there you have it. Frankly, if you're not aware of this film there's no point explaining it. It's a nostalgic one, for sure.