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Overall Rating
1.48

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 7.95%
Average: 4.55%
Pretty Bad: 14.77%
Total Crap72.73%

7 reviews, 46 user ratings


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Christmas with the Kranks
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by Tom Ciorciari

"Requiem for the Christmas movie."
1 stars

The holiday movie, in general, lives and dies by its ability to bring to the viewer a feeling of warmth, a recollection of some holiday past and/or a seasonally justified moral (i.e. the world would have been a worse place had you not been born). It is my sad duty to inform the potential viewer of "Christmas With the Kranks" that none of the above applies to this waste of 98 minutes of film stock.

Having not read John Grisham's novel "Skipping Christmas", which was the basis for CWTK, I haven't any idea whether the plot deficiencies are to be blamed on Grisham or screenwriter Chris Columbus, though I'm pretty sure Grisham probably didn't pen the scene in which Tim Allen's Luther Krank sits down for lunch with a face full of botox wherein much Jerry Lewis-inspired hijinks occurs.

Actually CWTK's plot is a bizarre lesson in religious intolerance. The film opens with our gloomy heroes Luther and Nora Krank (a game Jamie Lee Curtis in full soccer mom mode) driving their daughter to the airport. Seems she's heading off for a stint with the Peace Corps just in time to hobble the family's Christmas plans. In return Luther decides that rather than mope around town during their lonely holiday why not jet off to the Bahamas and just skip the whole Christmas thing (see why his name's Krank?). This does not go down well with the neighbors, the scariest group of suburbanites since the alien-fearing mob from Rod Serling's "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" Twilight Zone episode. Seems they feel the Kranks haven't the right to celebrate, or rather not celebrate, in whatever manner they might like. They sneer and snarl and picket the Krank house demanding they erect the seven foot plastic Frosty the snowman that everyone on the block has perched atop their roofs. This group would have gutted poor Rudolph and served him up as Christmas dinner for that pesky red nose!

Of course this being a Christmas comedy all of this plot business would be moot were the film actually funny. Unfortunately this is not the case. The comic highlights being the aforementioned botox bit that might have been funny ten years ago on Allen's "Home Improvement", and a recycled bit of slapstick in which Curtis' Nora must race an elderly shopper across a supermarket for the last canned ham - a bit done better in, if you can believe it, the Governator's stupefyingly dreadful Jingle All The Way. Add Dan Akroyd (whose last decent bit of film work was 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie; "Wanna see something really scary?") as the block's defacto leader and a so-out-of-place-it-seems-like-an-hallucination cameo by Felicity Huffman as one of Nora's circle of friends (that her character is mysteriously absent after her first scene is just another typical missed opportunity), and you've got an idea of how much a maybe-this-will-work mishmash this film is.

By the time any semblance of sincerity rears its maudlin head you're way over the how-much-longer-is-this-thing? line. Most insulting is the fact that Luther is the character we're supposed to believe needs to see the light, not the horde of goose-stepping loonies who not only won't let him be in peace, but feel compelled to teach him the error of his ways and make him once more like them.

Jamie Lee Curtis gives her all. plugging away like a real trouper, to the point of showing off her justly renowned everywoman figure in a too-skimpy bikini for a too-easy laugh, but Allen seems to have phoned in his performance. More often than not Allen can make his persona (and let's face it, there has never been any noticeable attempt on his part to play anything other than himself, the animated Buzz Lightyear notwithstanding) work for him, but here he seems to know just how lousy a movie he's involved himself in. The remainder of the cast similarly goes through the paces, though special mention must be made of M. Emmett Walsh (who is sixty-nine years old, and looks every minute of it, sorry M.) being forced to play Allen's slightly older contmporary (a never funny on-going joke has him calling Luther "old man").

To say that CWTK is simply a failure is to give the impression that actual effort was made of the part of the filmmakers. This is so glaringly obviously not the case. From the appearance/disappearance/reappearance of the wreath that the not-celebrating Kranks have on their front door to the cameo of Santa flying through the air in the film's closing seconds this is as sloppy a thrown-together-for-the-money film as I have seen in recent years. Instead of skipping Christmas you should be skipping Christmas with the Kranks.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11183&reviewer=384
originally posted: 12/28/04 17:09:17
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User Comments

12/24/13 Michelle O Tim is a TOOL & Jamie is a LUG NUT 2 stars
10/23/09 Rachel Not the best comedy, but it definitely has some parts that make you laugh. 4 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Not all that funny. 1 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT ONE OF THE WORST CHRISTMAS FILMS EVER MADE 1 stars
9/11/07 Daren As a sub I had to show this movie to several classes to pass time. I wanted to kill myself. 2 stars
2/03/07 X To quote the bloopers guy on Robot Chicken: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 1 stars
1/28/07 William Goss To quote Jamie Lee: "Oh, dear God, this should be outlawed." Hypocritical and humor-free. 1 stars
1/07/07 Frank Rountree OK, but only rent it and watch it once. Tim Allen is good 3 stars
1/03/07 Ken Cain Pretty poor. Don't buy it. 2 stars
11/28/06 MickT anti-fascist and missunderstood,just like Starship Troopers. 3 stars
6/30/06 Ryan_A Even an OK cast can't save a terrible script and bad direction. Allen's typically awful. 1 stars
5/22/06 Diane P just okay for me the book was much better my daughter liked it she's 10 3 stars
4/11/06 Justin A pretty decent Christmas movie. Love Jamie & Tim! 4 stars
3/31/06 mike An Incredibly annoying movie. Just dumb. Only worse movie is cry wolf! 1 stars
1/07/06 JM Synth Fairly terrible, but it did have one of the better casts to hit the big screen in a while 2 stars
12/30/05 tony Its not Christmas Vacation and thats all im going to say 1 stars
12/27/05 Thelma G. calling this abomination crap is an insult to crap 1 stars
11/14/05 Joe Smaltz Really sucks, couldn't finnish it! 1 stars
11/12/05 tatum The Kranks should have spent the Xmas money on a funny script 1 stars
11/05/05 NoVaDJ I would have rather watched an old man write his name in excrement on a wall than this movi 1 stars
7/28/05 ellie it wasn't half bad 4 stars
6/15/05 Quigley quite possibly the worst movie ever to ugli-fy the theater screen 1 stars
5/13/05 Jennifer Regan Nice family movie, and very entertaining! 4 stars
4/29/05 Valerie Furr Kept me laughing and very enjoyable movie. 4 stars
4/23/05 Heather Tarlecky I thought it was worth seeing 4 stars
4/11/05 Ann Lemire Not Great 3 stars
4/10/05 Vince worst movie I've ever seen in theaters 1 stars
3/31/05 Katherine Frazier way too predictable 2 stars
3/25/05 craig varney terrible nonesense 1 stars
2/22/05 re morgan kill me once i finish my popcorn! 1 stars
1/31/05 Katherine Frazier Really boring movie 1 stars
1/18/05 Jeff Anderson WORTHLESS JUNK! If this is the way Xmas is really like in any known universe, WE'RE SCREWED 1 stars
12/30/04 Katie Evridge Entertaining film. Worth seeing if you need something to do for a few hours. 4 stars
12/29/04 Tom Ciorciari Inexcusable crap from those who really shold know better 1 stars
12/17/04 Desperado hey hayfever, it was there because Bush is an ignorant dipshit, so there 1 stars
12/13/04 hayfever Why the Bush-bashing in the Kyle review? That was unneeded. 1 stars
12/11/04 the Grinch Would you put Tim Allen in YOUR movie? 2 stars
12/09/04 lawhog44 Curtis/Aykroyd fans, you'll be a lot happier rewatching Trading Places. PS: Book sucks, too 1 stars
12/05/04 Tmccormick oh my god im going to shoot myself that was so bad 1 stars
11/27/04 KCobain Train wreck 1 stars
11/27/04 Steve Hazelwood Oh my dear lord...Did I pay money for that? 1 stars
11/27/04 Norman Kozlarek Trailer was sooo bad it pissed me off 1 stars
11/27/04 Naka No. Absolutely not. Never. Jesus. 1 stars
11/25/04 Whoop Whoop Sensationally awful. Enough to ensure Allen never acts again. 1 stars
11/25/04 Caiphn 'Hilarious and Fun'? Are you retarded? You are! 2 stars
11/25/04 Kristina Williams Jamie Lee Cutis must RETIRE. NOW. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Nov-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Dec-2004


Directed by
  Joe Roth

Written by
  Chris Columbus

Cast
  Tim Allen
  Jamie Lee Curtis
  Dan Aykroyd
  Erik Per Sullivan
  Cheech Marin
  Jake Busey



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