Surviving Christmas Directed by Mike Mitchell
DreamWorks, opens October 22
This ghastly comedy emits the subliminal whine of a sucking chest wound as shallow ad exec Ben Affleck, freshly dumped by his shouty girlfriend and facing Yuletide solo, journeys to his childhood home and rents out the scowling couple (James Gandolfini and Catherine O'Hara) and porn-obsessed wastrel teen now in residence. Scarred by the Bic stabs of at least four screenwriters, this horror show apparently fancies itself a black comedy, given that the opening montage of holiday cheer ends with Grandma sticking her head in the oven. But the sorriest sight is Affleck himself, who helplessly yelps, mugs, and bugs his eyes, his face frozen in a panicked rictus as if J.Lo were screaming at him from off-camera to bring her cuticle cream.