Christmas with the Kranks

Cast:
Tim Allen as Luther Krank
Jamie Lee Curtis as Nora Krank
Dan Aykroyd as Vic Frohmeyer
M. Emmet Walsh as Walt Scheel
Elizabeth Franz as Bev Scheel
Erik Per Sullivan as Spike Frohmeyer
Cheech Marin as Officer Salino
Jake Busey as Officer Treen
Austin Pendleton as Umbrella Santa/Marty
Tom Poston as Father Zabriskie
Julie Gonzalo as Blair Krank
René Lavan as Enrique DeCardenal
Caroline Rhea as Candi
Felicity Huffman as Merry
Patrick Breen as Aubie

Critique:
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as Luther and Nora Krank in the film adaptation of John Grisham’s novel “Skipping Christmas.” Allen and Curtis have good on screen chemistry together and make a very believable, if a little dysfunctional, couple.

Every year the Kranks put together a spectacular Christmas, with parties and a house full of decorations. For the first time since she was born, their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) will not be there since she has taken a job with a charitable organization that will keep her in South America during the holiday season. Since their daughter will not be there, Nora and Luther decide to “skip” Christmas and spend the week on a cruise in the Caribbean.

Christmas with the Kranks is a safe holiday movie. The PG rating is earned mostly through prat falls and physical comedy, and one slight hint of sexual innuendo that goes right over Luther’s (and the children in the audience) head. Being a safe movie does have its drawbacks. While the idea of skipping Christmas is fairly novel one on-screen, the actual events of the movie are mostly recycled.

While often funny, the situations are constrained by the limited range that Luther is allowed to travel through. What makes many Christmas movies great is the redemption of one of the main characters. Luther starts off as a basically nice guy who just wants a break from the pressure, and expense, of Christmas. The payoff at the end of the movie just does not have the same impact it could have had if Luther was more of a character you love to hate.

Who should see this movie? If you are looking for a funny Christmas movie to take a young audience to you will hit your mark here. Young kids, especially boys, will relate to the Cub Scouts and the physical humor. At the same time, there is enough more mature humor to please the adults in the crowd also. This is not a deep movie, so if you want to stimulate your mind you need to go someplace else. Overall, Christmas with the Kranks is a fun fluff of a movie. It probably will not be your favorite Christmas movie of all times, but it is a good family outing.

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