Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
Reviewed on 2011 December 21
I heard a lot of negative things about this holiday movie and disregarded them, trying to watch it and form an independent opinion about it. It was every bit as bad as I’d been led to expect, and then some. This movie made me do something I’d never done before: I’m going to review it even before watching the last fifteen minutes of it (I read how it ends and no, it still can’t redeem it), because I just couldn’t finish the thing. If that makes me unfair, so be it, but don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) are the ultimate Christmas household in their suburban enclave, complete with the standard-issue huge plastic glowy outdoor snowman that’s visible from space, and the Christmas Eve shindig. The first year their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) won’t be home for the holidays, the Kranks decide to skip it all for a change. Luther wants to go on a cruise, and convinces Nora it’s a great idea.
Sadly, the clique of neighbors take it upon themselves to disagree. This simple act of indulgence for one year is regarded as a betrayal of the whole neighborhood, one that disrupts their very existence, and they won’t stand for it. Sane people would just offer to watch their house for them and have someone else have the freaking December 24th blowout for once, but no. The whole block is led by "block warden" and smug blowhard, Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Akroyd), to torment the Kranks into staying home and doing their duty.
I like Dan Akroyd. I like Tim Allen. I like Jamie Lee Curtis. And you know what we got putting them all together? Crap. Even they couldn’t save this thing. Lots of people point out that this thing shouldn’t be taken seriously and we should just laugh at the antics of the psycho neighbors, and that’s the big problem. I’d be happy to, except the jokes aren’t funny. They’re predictable as someone telling the same joke again and again, while poking you in the ribs extra hard to be sure you get it. The viciousness of the neighbors just takes it to the level of one of those horrible pseudo-heartwarming chain emails telling you you’ll die if you don’t forward it to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. The only interesting concept was when the neigh-boors pulled together to help out the Kranks, but even that was tainted.
I do disagree with one thing a lot of reviewers say: that this will ruin your Christmas spirit. In one way it had the opposite effect on me. We have very nice neighbors and after watching this thing, I decided to tote a bottle of wine and an ornament to one of their houses. Just because they’re not Frohmeyers.
Ugh. No morsel.