Kranky for christmas

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“Christmas with the Kranks” isn’t a movie regarded as a Christmas classic yet there’s a reason behind it.

The 2004 comedy film, directed by Joe Roth and written and produced by Chris Columbus,  is actually based on the 2001 novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. Despite the different titles, the book and the movie have almost the same exact plot and characters.

The film “Christmas with the Kranks” revolves around Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis), who are sad to see their adult daughter leave for a humanitarian project with the Peace Corps. The parents decide to be creative and try to skip Christmas for a cruise. As the date for the cruise approaches, the neighbors are disheartened more and more by the antics of the Kranks…until the daughter Blair Krank (Julie Gonzalo) unexpectedly returns.

With stars like Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, it was surprising to see how this film falls short.

The opening and the first few minutes may be golden, but the humor is not amazing after that and it doesn’t get more entertaining. Some of the scenes in particular get rather bland, such as  the gag with Luther repeatedly stepping on the cat Muffles, or how some other gags go on and on but not being all that funny. The character development is not really existent either. Luther Krank in particular seemed like a grouch until the last eight minutes of the film and thinks it’s perfectly okay to get a tan, even when his spouse gets injured from an incident with a tanning bed. Although Nora does change a bit when it comes to her outlook on skipping Christmas, it’s not enough to justify the lack of development for other characters.

The concept of skipping Christmas sounds interesting, but the ending is not as unique as it could be. To summarize, a great party is thrown for Blair’s return with help from the neighbors and Luther Krank ends up giving the cruise tickets to an elderly couple. It ends with that campy and sappy Christmas spirit that most people know from the ending of “A Christmas Carol”. Actually, the ending of “A Christmas Carol” is better because the main character doesn’t awkwardly conform to values other than his own. Scrooge actually feels sorry for what he has done and how his behavior can inflict innocent victims. Meanwhile, the Kranks give in only because their neighbors are driving them insane and they don’t want Blair to know they were going to skip Christmas.

Although this movie isn’t bottom-of-the-barrel bad, “Christmas with the Kranks” is by no means a classic. If you want a mostly-realistic plot and you don’t mind comedy lows, this can be your movie to watch. Otherwise, it isn’t worth your time.

I would rate “Christmas with the Kranks” to be three out of five paws.

 

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