The New York Times opens a positive review with this:
Set on Christmas Eve, "The Ref" evokes a familiar kind of holiday feeling: the high anxiety and claustrophobia of spending a long dinner with feuding relatives. The plot sounds hopeless, but the film is handled with gleeful irreverence, dark wit and cynicism.Rolling Stone concludes, "The script is crass; the actors never. They keep The Ref from going down for the count." Roger Ebert gives it 3 stars and calls it "fun". Rotten Tomatoes has an audience rating of 73%.