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Overall Rating

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
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Guess Who's Kranky Now?"
1 stars

In an era where we are redefining what constitutes acceptable entertainment on a nightly letter-writing campaign, allow me to make a suggestion. I would like to propose a Constitutional Amendment banning any concept that allows the description to include the word “wacky.” That’s right, I am calling for a national boycott of that word. “Goofy” is Disney and “Looney” is Bugs and so is “Daffy.” For the “wacky” to ensue, the creators normally put no thought into anything behind the term, delivering nothing but the situation but failing to calculate what exactly is funny about it in the first place. The following is an open letter on behalf of moviegoers who demand something more than Christmas with the Kranks in their holiday stockings.

Dear Hollywood Stupidheads,

I am writing to complain how intellectually offended I was that you have decided to make Christmas with the Kranks and unleash it upon us this holiday season. I am equally appalled that you’ve decided to double-up the misery of my hometown Chicago suburbs by releasing it less than five weeks after Surviving Christmas. We have gone to therapy and held candlelight vigils in an effort to erase the memory of one film only to have another take its place so soon.

Not since the day I read Meinkaupf and rented Shoah have I had an experience so joyless and laugh-free than the time I spent watching Christmas with the Kranks; a period that also has me looking forward to further wackiness with Vin Diesel (The Pacifier), Ice Cube (Are We There Yet?) and double-threat Tommy Lee Jones and Cedric the Entertainer (Man of the House). Kranks failed to deliver on the tough-guy-forced-to-deal-with-children-and-teenagers premise that I was hypnotized into, but it does have Tim Allen proving once again that his script choices outside of Toy Story and Santa Clause films are a slow death waiting to happen.

In this film, based on the book by that crazy legal cut-up John Grisham, Allen plays the oh-so-cleverly named Luther Krank who along with his wife, Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) are experiencing a serious bout of empty nest when their daughter leaves for the Peace Corps during the holidays. Luther, tired of the Catholic rituals, decides to nail his reform theory on the doors of the local Church. OK, not quite. But he does decide he’s going to skip Christmas this year. With no daughter at home, why should the Kranks throw their annual Christmas party and spend thousands of unnecessary dollars when for half that, they could spend their holidays in the Caribbean for a well-deserved vacation. That means no tree-buying from the local boy scouts, no contribution to the policeman’s male calendar fund and no decorations of any kind. Oh, but Nora insists that the Church still get their annual tribute. After all, good earners must pay up to the Captain.

This incites the local neighborhood, led by Dan Aykroyd, into an angry mob sans torches who demand the installment of a giant snowman and leads to such anti-humorous situations as hiding in the cellar (as opposed to the Kranks’ second story), falling on ice and maintaining a feud with M. Emmet Walsh whose wife received a very special present for Christmas – Cancer!

I, as someone who has always enjoyed Christmas all the way back to my fond memories of school vacations, admits there is something intriguing to the notion of skipping it altogether. When looked on from afar, it can easily be associated as a holiday of cults and guilt, which when families aren’t gathering and special feelings aren’t stroked at the thoughts of giving and receiving, the depression and suicide rate are at an all-time high. We don’t need films like Christmas with the Kranks to straighten those numbers.

But even if we do, what is wrong with raising the level of humor to a wit beyond puddle splashing and pratfalls? What is funny about Curtis & Allen being caught in skimpy swimwear in a tanning salon by Squiggy and Reverend Tom Poston? Cheech Marin and Jake Busey should raise eyebrows (as well as a neighborhood watch recall) as the town cops, particular as Gary’s son displays the name of the Kranks’ daughter’s Hispanic boyfriend “N-Reeky” all while standing next to CHEECH MARIN! Just because the film is “N-Reeky” doesn’t mean the audience should be converted into morons.

Because that’s basically what every character in Christmas with the Kranks is. Luther deems it safe to put up a ten-foot Frosty on his angled roof without any support for himself or the giant snowman. The Cancer Couple seem generally confused by Luther’s late act of kindness. Aykroyd’s son (Erik Per Sullivan) recognizes the illegalities of taking someone else’s Christmas tree, but dumb enough to let out a handcuffed criminal out of the back of a police car and invite him into the Kranks’ home. It leaves Austin Pendleton as the symbolic center of this film’s I.Q. dumbing intentions; a rejected Joan of Arcadia incarnation whom nobody knows that shows up at the big party with nothing but ham only to appear 15 minutes later in a Santa Claus outfit to drench the gooey center all over us.

In order to make amends for this most grievous of holiday coal lumps, we at the Never-Use-Family-In-Our-Acronym-To-Pretend-We-Fight-For-Families-Organization (or NUFIO for short) are demanding that ABC affiliates in all fifty states run an unedited 24-hour loop of the holiday classic, The Ref, with Denis Leary on Christmas Eve. It will be of little consolation if audiences turn Christmas with the Kranks into a major hit, but it will be a fitting form of revenge in an effort to take back the cinema by exposing more people to what sharp writing and true satire is all about. I don’t know if this letter is short enough to maintain the attention span of those who greenlit and created this film, therefore I’ll include by quoting your own words back to you in a hope it somehow finds vacancy in those empty craniums – “Skipping Christmas, what a stupid idea.”

Disrespectfully Yours, Erik Childress.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 11/24/04 16:46:02
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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
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
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  24-Nov-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2005



Directed by
  Joe Roth

Written by
  Chris Columbus

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

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