Christmas with the Kranks (movie review)

Who would have guessed Jamie Lee Curtis could squawk like that?

In November of 2001, John Grisham took time off from writing about lawyers saving the world and published Skipping Christmas just in time to cash in on the holiday season. People generally consider the book to be “just OK;” a mediocre effort from a great writer. Entertainment Weekly gave it a C+, that sort of thing. However, when the novel was adapted for the silver screen, the bar lowered further still.

If you have no ambition to ever see Christmas with the Kranks, watch the trailer – it summarizes three quarters of the movie very well, and it’s certainly better than sitting through this loathsome turd. Pardon my French, but you’re better off crankin’ one out than watching this piece of krank. This movie has no business being a major motion picture and should have been a made for TV movie starring Alan Thicke or something. More ranting after the jump.

OK, I think that pretty well covers insulting Christmas with the Kranks. Let’s move on to nitpicking it to death.

Everyone is unreasonable
There are no reasonable characters in this movie. Everyone is a bunch of babbling, bumbling buffoons, as Professor McGonagall would say. (Although, the little kid from Malcolm in the Middle sees the error of his ways, but the movie isn’t about him.) The protagonists are not likable, so you don’t sympathise with them – this is the reason why the flick fails as a movie, but there are a zillion more things that take the movie from failed art to unwatchable.

Once their daughter announces that she will not be coming home for Christmas, Tim Allen proposes that he and Jamie Lee Curtis instead forgo their usual holiday spending and instead go on a cruise. Curtis’ character is initially hesitant but quickly agrees that it’s a great idea. Following this initial scene, she proceeds to flip flops more than Mayor Joe Quimby. You will get whiplash at how fast she goes from praising to scolding Allen’s character.

So you’re sitting there, suffering through the movie, sarcastically wondering why there are no cruise scenes in the trailer as the movie continues to hurtle toward the end of the running time and finally, the daughter calls and states the following:

“Hi, i’m engaged after being away for only one month. But we knew each other in the past, so that makes this totally normal. Also, surprise, I’m flying a thousand miles to see you and I’m giving you zero notice. Hope Christmas is going to be exactly as it always is, which I live for, but had no intention of attending until now.”

You know, reasonable behavior.

Speaking of which, there’s a scene in which Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis have an argument about putting up Christmas decorations. They’ve both agreed to abstain from this practice (which makes no sense as they clearly own Christmas decorations and simply putting them up would only cost them time, not the money Tim Allen is harping about – also, it’s not like they’re going to be out of town for Christmas; their cruise doesn’t leave till the afternoon on the 25th…), but Curtis is having misgivings.

They have this argument in front of a Christmas wreath hanging on their front door.

F U, movie. F. U.

Wait, you’re giving away the ham?
Part of the movie’s climax includes the quest to procure the traditional Christmas ham, their daughter’s favorite. Jamie Lee Curtis tries and fails in both comedy and obtaining said ham simultaneously, but when a neighbor simply gives them one, Tim Allen later gives it away to another neighbor for no reason at all. This is also in spite of the fact that their neighbors just went crazy helping them set up their traditional Christmas for the homecoming for their daughter, who’s the one who wants the ham in the first place…

I don’t get it. See my middle finger, movie? That’s for you.

Flat out stupid
There’s some stuff in this movie that is beyond stupid. The whole “Free Frosty” campaign by the neighbors just makes them seem like a pack of lunatics, but at the same time, there’s no reason not to put up their Frosty the Snowman as it won’t hurt their budget because the damn thing is sitting in their basement collecting dust! It’s the very definition of forced conflict.
And the botox injection scene… my God, the botox scene…

Yeah, it’s bad.

If you must watch a Tim Allen Christmas movie, I’d say go with The Santa Clause. This movie… Christmas with the Kranks is a terrible excuse for a major motion picture and it’s even bad by the Tim Allen Christmas movie standard – it’s that bad. Watch at your own risk.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on December 5, 2014, in christmas blog posts, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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