Christmas Movies: Christmas with the Kranks (2004) 

3/5* Shivs Show | Siobhan Divers

Dir: Joe Roth
98 minutes
Starring: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, Julie Gonzola, M Emmet Walsh, Elizabeth Franz, Erik Per Sullivan 

Slow to start with less than likable characters, Christmas with the Kranks is cringeworthy cinema though it’s fun, festive and has an interesting premise.

Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) decide to give Christmas a miss for the year, much to the dismay of their suburban neighbours lead by Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd).

With the Krank’s daughter Blair (Julie Gonzola) away for Christmas, they plan to use the money they would have spent on Christmas on a carribean cruise instead.

Based on Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, Christmas with the Kranks has a great cast however it’s hard to sympathise with the characters they each play. Both Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are great actors however in this particular film, they aren’t given much to work with – their character development takes too long and ultimately their characters are just annoying. This makes it hard to connect with them and empathise with their situation.

Luther Krank is selfish and cruel towards his neighbours, animals and community carolers while Nora is painfully annoying as she screams every time her daughter phones. And if this wasn’t bad enough, the neighbours are equally as annoying until the third act.

While films don’t need to be realistic, this film is particularly unrealistic and cringeworthy – in a normal neighbourhood, no one would care if one household was avoiding the festivities. Whereas in the Krank’s neighbourhood, they are bullied and harassed for not putting up decorations or hosting a Christmas Eve party.

The slapstick comedy in the film is also less than adaquate – Nora Krank gets caught in a bikini while Luther gets botched botox.

Though despite all this, the premise is rather interesting – can you really avoid Christmas? The film as a whole gives a thought – provoking insight into how we cling to traditions.

And if you decide to watch it, you can make it bearable if you imagine it as a horror film – there’s so much potential for it to be a halloween flick. For one thing there’s Frosty – neighbours finish their Christmas decorating with the hoisting of a grand snowman light onto their roofs and on more than one occasion, Luther thinks he hears Frosty speaking to him. In one shot, Frosty actually looks quite sinister as he chillingly smiles in the basement.

And then there’s the neighbours’ taunts and of course Jamie Lee Curtis – an iconic horror film presence.

As it is though, despite some character issues and unfunny scenes of slapstick comedy, Christmas with the Kranks is a heartwarming holiday tale with a unique premise and nice character development.

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