Saturday, December 20, 2014

Movie Review: "Christmas with the Kranks" (2004)

Image Source
Movie"Christmas with the Kranks"
Director: Joe Roth
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) have just bid farewell to their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo), who has joined the Peace Corps and is off to Peru. Since this is their first Christmas in 23 years without their daughter at home, Luther gets the idea to skip Christmas and take his wife on a Caribbean cruise. Their neighbors, friends and coworkers don't take very well to the notion of the Kranks skipping Christmas and do everything they can to convince the Kranks to join in the holiday festivities. The Kranks are determined to forgo any celebration, until their daughter calls to let them know she is coming home for Christmas as a surprise. Luther and Nora are then forced to scramble to get everything ready in time for their big Christmas eve party and their daughter's arrival.

When you think of family Christmas films, 9 times out of 10, you wouldn't ever think to think about John Grisham in the same thought.

It seems like "Christmas with the Kranks" movie was better the first time we watched it years ago, but this second time around, it has lost what little magic it had to being with. We have mixed feelings about the movie for several reasons. On one hand, we have the unbelievable audacity and the balls of the neighbors and community surrounding the Kranks who inject themselves into their life and holiday plans unprovoked. Their neighbors ridicule them, ostracize them and harass them over their choice to take a vacation for themselves for once in their life, rather than participating in the traditional holiday celebration. Who does that!? We don't live in small town America, but if we did, this would be reason enough to get the hell away from that place. Sure, in the end, a lot of the neighbors redeemed themselves by banding together to help the Kranks in their time of need, but it doesn't even begin to make up for the hell they put them through earlier in the movie. Not ever single solitary household and family on every single solitary block in every single solitary town has to do the things the same way every single Christmas like cookie cutter cut-outs all uniformed and "proper." Are we supposed to feel like Tim Allen is being a dick for not buying a Christmas tree from the Boy Scouts? Or a calendar from the cops? If they aren't going to be there for Christmas at all, and if he didn't want to do so and would rather use his money on his vacation, shouldn't he be allowed to exercise that right? Because, in all honesty, we don't feel like he's being unreasonable, the neighbors are the ones being unreasonable. The Boy Scouts and police even exploit the Kranks when their daughter is in fact coming home for Christmas in the form of jacking up the price of a twig from a Christmas tree to $100 since Luther was "a scrooge" to them earlier in the film. This is seriously the neighborhood from hell. Sure, there were things the Kranks could have done to ease tensions in their neighborhood, but really, they shouldn't have had to! Beyond this, the film is a comedy that isn't all that funny. What little comedy there is comes from slapstick and the bickering between the Kranks and their neighbors and their eventual struggle to put on a last minute Christmas party. The story as a whole is predictable at best with phony sentimentality throughout. Though the ultimate act of kindness towards a perceived enemy on the part of Luther Krank at the end of the film is a nice gesture, it came too late into its run time for the movie to be redeemed from its painful existence.

My Rating: 4.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 5%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Scrooged"

No comments:

Post a Comment