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4.4 out of 5 stars
38
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2017
I read humourous and hilarious , everyone is entitled to their view . To me this is an inept attempt at humour , by an American Studio , for American audiences . Starry cast , abysmal film . I just wasted 90 minutes of my life , waiting to get it . If there is anything worse than a Christmas from hell , then it is a film about a Christmas from hell .
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"The Ref" is one of the humorous Christmas films. It us so far fetched, you will forget your troubles and woes, and fall right into step. Dennis Leary stars as Gus, a jewel thief who sets off an alarm in a private house and then in desperation kidnaps a married couple, Judy Davis as Caroline and Kevin Spacey as Lloyd. Gus knows not what he has done on this Christmas Eve.

Caroline and Lloyd, are the personification of dysfunction. They have been fighting for years, and their son, Jesse, so fraught with their home, goes to miliItary school, and then blackmails his teachers. Gus trying to find a way out if the mess he is in, tries to mediate the couples arguments, and when their family comes for Christmas Eve dinner, all is set in motion. This is in fact a funny film, that will have you laughing. The other actors are superb. The relatives who are all as crazy as this couple, the police department filled with goons, and the neighborhood Santa Claus who drinks too much.msome thing for everyone, here.

Great writing and acting, a script that is full of life, and the director, Ted Demme, let's it all roll. One of the good ones at Christmas.

Recommended. prisrob 11-28-14
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on 16 June 2005
"The Ref" or "Hostile Hostages" as it is sometimes know by its other title, is one of theose hidden gems of a film that by far outshines some of the more successful and well known films, and yet in many senses is by far much much better than these.
The plot idea is relatively simple, Denis Leary plays Gus a professional burglar who after a foiled robbery seeks to make good his escape by taking married couple Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur hostage. Lloyd (played by Kevin Spacey) and Caroline (played by Judy Davis) are however going through something of a marriage crisis and poor old Gus ends up as a real piggy in the middle between the two warring factions of this married couple. Add in a delinquent son, a mother-in-law of humongous bitchy proportions and a drunk Santa Claus and let the mayhem begin!
The interplay between Learn, Spacey and Davis is simply fantastic with the machinegun like dialogue whizzing back and forth between them. Likewise the stingingly cruel comments from the mother-in-law from hell are a real hoot, as is the bumbling capers of the town's less than competent police force.
What makes the film work on another level though is that the arguments and disagreements that have the family at each other's throats are not contrived or unbelievable. Both husband and wife put forward extremely credible points of view that I'm sure have cropped up in the minds of most viewers. This gives the film a lovely poignancy and all that more enjoyable.
Don't let this brilliant little film pass you by!
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Hilarious in parts mainly due to the acting skills of the main participants and is about a bickering married couple being taken hostage by a bungling burglar on Christmas eve after a failed burglary on a nearby house. There are plenty of funny one-liners but after a while the pace seems to drop and the laughs get fewer and fewer and at the end it's a bit of a damp squib but worth watching for the laughs and the alcoholic father Christmas.
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on 18 January 2005
We got this film out cos we love Kevin Spacey! What a great film - fast, sassy and slick. Great storyline which forty somethings and teens enjoyed together so makes a good family film if you've got older "children". Hilarious! Enjoy! :o)
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on 21 December 2010
I caught the end of this film on television one Christmas and found myself enjoying a darkly comic treat at the end of a cheese and cracker filled viewing schedule. This film may not be an epic Christmas adventure, but it certainly takes the edge off the sacharrin sweet child friendly aspect of festivities and lands the Christmas spirit firmly in the adult realm. A stiff nightcap after a full day.

Plus, if you have a disfunctional family this is a better scripted version of the same arguments.

Love it
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on 26 November 2004
With every actors performance is in this, no-one goes over and above what each Charactor is worth, and the film is better for it. Several Belly-laughs give peaks to this at the right times, and the pace nevers falls below breath-catching level.
Quality all round. I Just can't find it on DVD anywhere... One time when buying a video is a necessity!
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on 6 February 2009
You will not be disappointed with this film. Denis Leary is superb - as are Kevin Spacey and Julie Davis. If you like your humour very dry, then this film is for you. Veteran British actress Glynis Johns steals the film though with her performance - truly the mother in law from hell! An antedote for all those perfect, sweet, Christmas stories - this portrays Christmas how it really is - families at each other's throats.
A husband and wife are held hostage by a thief (with a heart of gold) while planning his escape - the trouble is the rest of the family are due for their Christmas meal - and hate each other with a vengeance. Who will 'break' first; the family or the thief?
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on 2 April 2000
Family squabbles getting you down? Feeling down on your luck? You're in great shape compared to this lot! This underrated movie is crammed with laughs. With Spacey and Davis taking arguing to an art form and Leary proving that when you think your luck is at its lowest you are about to realise just how lucky you've been, you have to feel better after you've watched this film. The plot strand involving the teenage son is a bore but the rest of the film nore than makes up for it. Watch this film before embarking on a life of crime, getting married or having the in-laws round for lunch. You might change your mind.
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on 24 April 2011
I had this film on Video and I have been looking for it on DVD for years - and I found it on Amazon! It is one of my favourite comedies of all time. Originally called 'Hostile Hostages' its all about a burglary that goes wrong and the burglar (Denis Leary) taking a married couple hostage. The couple's marriage is on the rocks, they argue incessantly and together with their disfunctional family, cause no end of problems for the burglar. The script is original, the humour is dry, sarcastic and 'laugh out loud' good. Great stuff!
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