As strange as it may sound, the Kranks, the award-winning couple for their cheerful Christmas spirit, have decided for the first time, to skip this year's annual festivities when their daughter, Blair, departs for Peru, after joining the Peace Corps. With the intention to save the staggering amount of $6,000-plus spent on previous year's holiday season, the Kranks are determined to invest the money on a sun-drenched, 10-day Caribbean cruise, much to their friends and neighbours chagrin. However, that is easier said than done, and before long, menacing phone calls and angry protests on the snow-covered pavements will betray that there is definitely no easy way out for the traitorous couple who has turned its back on Christmas. And then, unexpectedly, Blair and her new fiancé are coming home, unbeknownst to them that the empty family nest is far from ready for the event. Can the Kranks "generate" Christmas out of nothing in less than a few hours?Written by
After the party had already started, the burglar who lies about having kids tries to escape from the upper floor and walks out onto the roof. Tim Allen's character, Luther Krank yells "Hey, get down from there!" which was similar to him first yelling at Santa Claus on the roof then yelling the same lines to his son on the roof not long after in one scene from "The Santa Clause" starring Tim Allen. See more »
When Luther refuses to buy the Christmas tree from the Boy
Scouts, Nora and Luther go in the front door which has a Christmas wreath on it. The Boy Scout leader complains to a group of neighbors and they all turn to look at the Kranks' house. When the door is seen from across the street and in a series of close-ups, the door has no wreath on it. The wreath reappears and stays there until Luther throws it aside. See more »
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Written by Tommie Connor
Published by Jewel Music Publishing Co., Inc.
Performed by Eddie Dunstedter
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music See more »
Pathetic Christmas "comedy" is laughable in effort
"Christmas with the Kranks" deserves a place among not only the worst holiday movies ever made, but one of the worst of all time in ANY genre.
The story closely follows the novel by John Grisham. The book itself is challenged from the get-go because it employs a formula which is all too familiar among holiday fare: the man who has lost his enthusiasm for the Christmas season but eventually goes through a personal redemption which restores his spirit. It is a theme that has been visited by everyone from Charles Dickens to Dr. Seuss, and so needs a lot of creativity and hard work to appear original. Unfortunately, Grisham"s plot followed a very predictable course and the result is a tale that is so tiresome that you can even sense the actors and the director of the film version were just as completely bored by the premise as most viewers will be.
The story also suffers from the assumption that a family not blatantly participating in outdoor lighting, greeting card sending, party-throwing, etc. would be branded and immediately set apart as rejects of their local society. I don't know about the neighborhood where John Grisham lives, but in my midwest suburb, most of the houses don't even bother to decorate at all. Yet I don't see neighborhood protests occurring every Christmas season. Further, in an age when Nativity scenes are routinely banned from public display and use of the word "Christmas" itself is discouraged as politically incorrect, it is hard to believe there would be such widespread condemnation of one family's decision to "skip Christmas" so they can go on a Caribbean cruise.
Having read the book, I was curious to see if the movie version improved upon the sub-par story. It is much, much worse. The development of the main character, Luther Krank (played by Tim Allen), into a man who is tired of the Christmas grind went too fast in the book and in the movie is barely established at all. In fact, we are led to believe it all comes about after one scene in which Luther makes a dash into a specialty foods store in the pouring rain to pick up a couple of items for his wife. What passes for creative slapstick at this time is Luther getting splashed by a car and his foot being submerged in a watery pothole.
Brace yourself, because that is about as original as the pranks in this film get.
While the main characters - Luther, and his wife, Nora (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) are hardly given any time to get INTO character, the character of the neighbors, and the Kranks' relationship to them is given none. It is almost as if the screenplay was written assuming the viewer had read Grisham's book and could fill in all the blanks. Hence, the much needed dynamic tension between the neighbors and the Kranks in order to establish some of the comedy is non-existent. Without build-up or justification, the animosity the neighbors have for the Kranks is forced, untrue, and very unfunny.
It is unsettling to watch highly paid actors go through the motions, looking as tired as the story. It is as if they themselves had no faith in the film, and just couldn't wait to get it done and over with. Ditto for the director. I can just visualize the director saying, "Okay, Tim, Jaimie Lee. One take and let's move on to the next one."
Even the cinematography looks tired and passionless. It appears as if even the outdoor scenes were filmed in a brightly lit studio. The story ached for a wide angle or bird's-eye panorama of the neighborhood to emphasize the Kranks' lack of participation with the lighting displays but we never see such a view. In addition, the scenery itself is so brightly lit you can hardly tell a difference between the Kranks' "dark" undecorated house and the well-lit homes of his neighbors.
When a comedy falls this flat it is not pretty. Especially when the script tries to inject some instant pathos at the last scene! Ironically, Luther's "conversion" into a caring person, a scene that is intended to be moving, may be the most laughable aspect of a film that is entirely contrived and more pathetic than anything else.
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