In need for some festive cheer this Christmas and New Year break? How about these five fantastic Christmas Comedies? Not only will get you laughing and cringing, you can also start planning your next film-inspired getaway from the comfort of your sofa…
1. Four Christmases (2008) – filmed in California, USA
The Story: San Fransisco based couple Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) try to avoid visiting each of their combined four sets of divorced parents at Christmas. Instead, the two jet off to an exotic holiday destination such as Fiji. This year, however, their flight gets cancelled and they are forced to spend Christmas with their lovely families… which you can imagine means a whole lot of drama…
The Filming Locations: This one was filmed almost entirely in sunny California, including LA, Santa Clarita, Oakland and San Fransisco International Airport – as you can tell by the flourishing green plants in the background!
My verdict: This film features plenty of the typical Vince Vaughn humour! If you liked comedies such as Wedding Crashers (2005) and The Internship (2013), this one will get you cringing for sure! Plus, it will give you a good glimpse of what the Christmas season looks like in California in case that's where you're heading to next…
2. The Night Before (2015) – filmed in New York City, USA
The Story: Ever since he lost both of his parents in a car accident in 2001, New Yorker Ethan Miller (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) spends Christmas Eve with his best mates Isaac Greenberg (Seth Rogen) and Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie). In 2015, times have changed: Chris is now a famous football player, and Isaac is married with a baby on the way. For good times sake, however, they want to go all wild one last time at the famous Nutcracker Ball – a tremendous, invite-only party on Christmas Eve…
The Filming Location: What I probably liked best about this medium-funny Christmas comedy was how it showcased New York City, which can be a magical place around Christmas. Scenes were filmed all over the city, including St Bartholomew's Church (325 Park Avenue and East 50th Street, Manhattan), Vazac's Horseshoe Bar (108 East 7th Street and Avenue B, Manhattan) and New York's famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Find out more about the filming locations of The Night Before.
The verdict: Expect the typical Seth Rogen humour, which is of course totally politically incorrect… But also some really funny cameos, for example by James Franco and Miley Cyrus. Plus, while watching the craziness of this Christmas Jumper scare, you can start planning your next fun trip to New York City!
3. The Holiday (2006) – filmed in California, USA and England, UK
The Story: Iris (Kate Winslet) from Surrey just outside of London and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) from Los Angeles, California, have two things in common: a) They own a house. b) They recently broke up with their boyfriends. As Christmas is just around the corner and they both desperately need a break, the two women decide to swap houses: Iris checks into Amanda's LA mansion while Amanda moves into the cosy little cottage of Iris in Surrey. However, both were not suspecting that there will be more love chaos to come…
The Filming Locations: Amanda's ultra modern LA mansion is a real house in Pasadena in Los Angeles county. For the scenes in England, the film crew did indeed go to a small Surrey village called Shere. Sadly though, Iris' cottage doesn't actually exist. However, the crew did an amazing job by building the house from scratch. Also, there are plenty of "old world" cottages like this to be found all over Britain, particularly in an area called The Cotswolds. Perhaps an accommodation idea for your next film-inspired holiday?
The verdict: If you ever thought about trying a home swap website, this is the movie to watch! The Holiday was released in 2006, at a time when AirBnB had not yet been founded. Fast forward 10 years and there are lots of opportunities to stay at real people's houses for authentic holiday experiences – not only through AirBnB, but also through several home swapping websites such as homeexchange.com to name one example.
4. Bridget Jones 1, 2 + 3 – filmed in England, UK
The Story: All of the three Bridget Jones films do at some point involve the Christmas season. Christmas is where everything started in the first Bridget Jones movie (2001) when Bridget met Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) wearing an original Christmas jumper and had a rather awkward first encounter with him (check out the movie clip below).
In 2016, film fans were treated to a third Bridget Jones movie after more than ten years of waiting (the second film called Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was released in 2004). The new arrival was called Bridget Jones's Baby and in my opinion really did the previous two films justice in terms of how entertaining it was.
The Filming Locations: London takes centre stage in all of the Bridget Jones movies. There are many original locations you can visit, such as Bridget's flat in Bedale Street just across the street from London's Borough Market (Yep, Briget kept that all the time since 2001. However, in real life, her tiny flat would cost a fortune now). However, the beautiful English countryside is featured, too. For example, each time Bridget visits her mum and dad (which of course includes Christmas and New Year).
Read more about the locations in Bridget Jones's Baby.
My verdict: At Christmas time, a Bridget Jones movie is never far away. If it's not on TV (which is highly unlikely), get the three films (including the newest one) on DVD. Get yourself a nice cuppa, laugh along with Bridget and dream of your next getaway to London and / or England…
5. New Year's Eve (2011) – filmed in New York City, USA
The Story: This one-day-film follows several New Yorkers as they spend the last day of the year.
There is, for example, secretary Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is a bit down as she has just quit her job. In return for tickets to a fancy Masquerade Ball, she asks delivery boy Paul Doyle (Zac Efron) if he can help her complete all of her New Year's resolutions from last year before midnight. Paul accepts and shows Ingrid that she doesn't even have to leave the city for that… Other well-known actors starring in New Year's Eve include Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Jon Bön Jovi, Katherine Heigl, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Josh Duhamel and German star Til Schweiger.
The Filming Locations: Although this movie is packed with stars, the true star is New York City! We see many different parts of the city that never sleeps, including Brooklyn and Brooklyn Bridge, Queens and the Queens Museum of Art, the Statue of Liberty, the Radio City Music Hall and of course Times Square!
The verdict: If you can't be in New York City this year, this is the film that gets you closest to this exciting city and its magnificent New Year's Eve celebration!