In ‘Four Christmases,’ Seth Gordon explores a season’s gratings

To some, it might seem a bit of a stretch for the director of an odd and obscure documentary about the '80s arcade game Donkey Kong to become the man in charge of the big-budget holiday-season comedy " Four Christmases," starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. Even the movie's 32-year-old filmmaker, Seth Gordon, describes it as an "unprecedented, staggering, irrational leap."

Gordon's unlikely ascent began in August 2007 when a copy of his previous (and first) film, "The King of Kong," ended up in Vaughn's possession, just before the film was released that month. The actor was so impressed by the tale of two aging ├╝ber-geeks who compete for the best score at the arcade game that he showed it to Witherspoon, with whom he was attached to make "Four Christmases." The film, about a couple forced to spend Christmas visiting the families of their four divorced parents, had been lying dormant for a few years, since it stalled at Sony because of a crowded holiday comedy season slate. New Line had picked up the project and was actively looking for a director.

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