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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
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by EricDSnider

"Movies like this make the baby Jesus cry. And on his birthday, too."
1 stars

"Christmas with the Kranks" is about a family who decides to forgo all yuletide festivities one year. Well, you'd skip Christmas, too, if all you had to watch were "Surviving Christmas," "The Polar Express" and "Christmas with the Kranks." Movies like this make me want to skip everything, including the remainder of my natural life.

The sad part is that I've always thought Tim Allen looked a bit like my dad, and Jamie Lee Curtis always sorta reminded me of my mom, and here they finally are in a film together, and they're complete idiots. They play Luther and Nora Krank, Chicago suburbanites whose only child, Blair (Julie Gonzalo), has joined the Peace Corps and will be in Peru for Christmas. Realizing Christmas won't be the same now, Luther hits on a brilliant idea: He and Nora will skip Christmas altogether and go on a 10-day cruise instead! No gifts given or accepted, no decorations, no holiday parties, no chestnuts roasting, no stockings hung by the chimney (with care or without), no nothing. It will be a Christmas-free year for the Kranks.

The only problem with this plan -- OK, actually, there are about one million problems with this plan, but the one that becomes most prominent is that the Kranks live on what is easily the most fascist, pro-Christmas block in the Christian world. Led by de facto neighborhood leader Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd, again sullying his oft-sullied career), the Kranks' decision not to post any decorations or take part in any of the usual neighborhood jollity is met with hostility and resentment. They are harassed at every turn by the local Christmas-observers, shunned and scorned by everyone in town. I pity any Jewish folk who happen to move into this neighborhood. As doggedly persuasive as the locals are, the poor Jews would be hanging up mistletoe and eating pork inside of a week.

Anyway, the movie is flawed in a number of ways, not the least of which is that it isn't funny. Based on the John Grisham novel "Skipping Christmas" (the title was changed to avoid confusion with the aforementioned "Surviving Christmas"), adapted by Chris Columbus (author of "Gremlins" and "Nine Months"), and directed by Joe Roth ("America's Sweethearts"), the film relies heavily on tired scenarios and awkward slapstick rather than on unusual situations or clever dialogue. There's a scene where Luther gets Botox and his face becomes rigid -- a highly original joke, I suppose, if you haven't watched a single sitcom in the past two years. People plug in Christmas lights and get comically electrocuted; carolers slip on ice; Jamie Lee Curtis is caught in a bikini by her minister; oh, the wackiness! And I ask you: Has Tim Allen ever been in a movie in which he DIDN'T fall off a roof?

But the movie's premise is fundamentally flawed anyway, in that we are never told WHY the Kranks are skipping Christmas. It's not because it's too expensive; if that were the reason, they would have no problem participating in the aspects of the season that are free. It's not because they want to focus on the religious aspects of Christmas; indeed, those elements are scarcely mentioned. My best guess is that they feel Christmas has become over-commercialized and unreasonably hectic, but that is only a guess. Such motives are barely even hinted at within the film. (And even STILL, they could do the non-commercialized Christmas activities, like caroling or exchanging heartfelt gifts.)

Without any understanding of why the Kranks are being such grinches, it's difficult to find amusement in the endless parade of scenes in which they are pressured by their friends and neighbors to celebrate Christmas. It all seems so random and capricious that all we can think is, "Well, yeah. Why WON'T you put up your Frosty the Snowman decoration?"

Tim Allen, perpetually a semi-clueless husband, is in his element here; it's even the third Christmas film he's done. It is impossible to be disappointed in anything he does because you always know exactly what it's going to be before you see it. Jamie Lee Curtis makes me sad, though, reduced to over-the-top hysterics that are far beneath her comic abilities. The film isn't as aggressively annoying as some are; it's more pitiful. I feel sorry for this movie.

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originally posted: 11/24/04 18:15:24
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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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