It looked bad enough in the previews, but "Christmas with the Kranks" is a downright terrible film that offers only a few laughs and a lot of eye-rolling, ear-covering moments, especially any scene involving Jamie Lee Curtis.
I've never been a big fan of Tim Allen movies, even though I find Mr. Allen himself quite funny. A fan of "Home Improvement," I only really liked "Galaxy Quest" and the "Toy Story" movies. The rest of his films have ranged from mediocre to garbage, and looking ahead to his 2006 slate, which includes a slew of kids films including "The Shaggy Dog" and "The Santa Clause 3" (Oh, God), it doesn't look like things are going to improve anytime soon. Nonetheless, Christmas films are his most successful ventures financially, and "Christmas with the Kranks" somehow managed to manipulate, fool and squeeze $75 million out of American audiences.
The movie stars Allen and Curtis as a bored married couple who decide to forego all Christmas celebrations one year to instead go on a cruise in the tropics. They suddenly turn into the creepy family from "The 'Burbs," as all the other suburbanites in the area, led by Dan Aykroyd in another wasted performance, unite against them to get them back into the Christmas spirit. Of course, it isn't until their daughter decides to come home at the last second that they decide they better skip the cruise and prepare a party... but by that point, the spirit is already lost. In fact, the spirit was lost before the opening credits even started.
"Christmas with the Kranks" is just a jumbled mess of shrill characters and stupid jokes that lacks any kind of Christmas spirit. Allen is nothing special, and Curtis is especially bad as she tries to overcome a bad script by being loud, annoying and silly the entire movie. In fact, in any other story her character would have been admitted to a mental asylum for being so paranoid, moody and idiotic, but apparently that's normal here. Aykroyd has only a small role, but it is nothing of interest. Why a talented, moderately popular comedian like this continues to choose bit roles in stupid comedies makes little sense to me.
If at the very least you are looking for a film that will instill good Christmas morals upon your children, still stay clear of "Kranks." The idea of the film is that the lead characters start off as Scrooges and finally realize their wicked ways at the end, but that really isn't the case. The only reason the two leads switch back into Christmas mode is that their daughter is coming home, and the only reason Allen gives away his tickets for the cruise is that he has no way of using them himself.
"Christmas with the Kranks" is an unfunny waste of two hours. This holiday season, when thinking of what films to watch with your family, there are countless other movies out there that are much better.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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