Time: 93 mins.
Genre: Black Comedy/Holiday
SYNOPSIS: A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve.
BOTTOM LINE: It's amazing how much fun watching bitter, mean, sarcastic, unhappy people can be, especially when they're in a holiday movie. I don't know why, but I would guess that it's because we've all been there to one extant or another and are just glad that someone else is having the Christmas dinner from hell. THE REF is just one giant screaming match of ugly, raw emotion. There's no one who can play bitter and angry, while still being funny, better than Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary and Judy Davis. This is verbal tag-teaming at it's best. They spew their dialogue with so much anger, wit and sarcasm you can practically see the knives being thrown. These characters are beyond fed-up with their lives and have nothing to lose. They're also incredibly funny.
Denis Leary plays Gus, your basic common thief who's tired of his wayward life and wants to settle down. All he needs is one last, major score and he can retire from his criminal lifestyle. He figures what night could be better than Christmas Eve. Everyone is distracted by the holiday cheer, no one will notice a stranger in town up to no good. Things go according to plan until he sets off the safe alarm, which also has an extra cat-pee spray deterant. He manages to get the loot, but not without alerting everyone in town of his presence. Needing a quick getaway, he jumps in the car of Lloyd (Spacey) and Caroline (Davis), a couple for whom bickering is an Olympic event. Gus quickly realizes he's jumped from the frying pan into the third ring of hell.
With no other choice, he forces them to return to their house and hide him until he can make contact with his alcoholic, incompetant partner Lou. Though Lloyd and Caroline are scared they have their own problems which they are only to happy to share with Gus. Unable to think with their constant fighting, he ties them up in an upstairs bedroom. He can't understand what these people have to fight about. They're rich, they have a nice house, why can't they appreciate their good fortune? Unfortunately for Gus, he can't keep them there long. They're hosting the Christmas Eve dinner.