Christmas with the Kranks is based after the 2011 novel by John Grisham called ” Skipping Christmas” and stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. I went into Christmas with the Kranks unsure of what to expect. I was familiar with the book but wasn’t sure how it would adapt to the big screen.
When Luther Krank (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank ( Jamie Lee Curtis) see their daughter Blair leave for the peace corp on the sunday after Thanksgiving for the year. The idea of spending Christmas without their daughter makes them think Christmas could be depressing this year. Luther decides to calculate that the couple spent $ 6, 132.00 on Christmas the prior year ranging from trees, christmas cards, presents, decorations, ect. Luther than proposes that they use the money that they spend towards Christmas and instead go on a a 10 day caribbean cruise , Luther wants to boycott christmas and spend the money on themselves for a change! Nora is a little skeptical of the idea but agrees as long as they can make their annual donation to the children’s hospital and church. Luther tries to battle the idea but agrees and they agree to plan the trip.
The Kranks then start to find out that boycotting christmas isn’t such a easy task. Luther’s employees begin to feel he is a Scrooge when they get letters from him stating he will not be participating in any christmas activities or exchanging any gifts. The local stationer becomes upset when he learns the Kranks will not be ordering their engraved christmas cards, local friends hear that the Kranks will not be hosting a Christmas eve party and the local boy scouts become upset and offended that the Kranks will not be buying a tree from them as the entire neighborhood does to support the camping trip they have planned. Even the police are stunned when the Kranks don’t purchase the calendar they sell to support the department.
The whole neighborhood begins to vent their frustration to neighbor Vic Frohmeyer ( Dan Akroyd) who begins a campaign to get the Kranks to decorate their house so the neighborhood doesn’t loose the coveted award for best decorated neighborhood. Across the street from Luther is Walt Scheel (M. Emmett Walsh) & his wife Bev. Walt doesn’t seam to like Luther very much and his efforts are primarily personal. Walt’s wife is suffering from cancer which could be causing his christmas spirit to be dampened this year.
The neighborhood continues to harass the Kranks as the holiday season gets closer to Christmas. local kids picket outside their house, carolers come by and sing and even the local priest confronts Laura about skipping the holiday season while they are in a tanning salon at the mall. The Kranks do their best to work with the newly found anger they have caused in the community however stay strong with the idea of taking a long cruise.
On Christmas eve morning the Kranks are packing for the cruise when they get a call from Blaire that she is at Miami airport and is coming home for Christmas with her new fiance who has never had a american christmas and she has told him all about the Kranks annual Christmas eve party. Nora is thrilled that her daughter is coming home for Christmas however tells her daughter the party is still on. This erupts into a panic filled session to get the house decorated and arrange a party with twelve hours until Blair and her fiance arrive from Miami.
Nora does not have much success in getting some festive food or getting friends to come over. Luther convinces a neighbor to let him borrow his tree since he will be out of town however Luther convinces Vic’s son to help him get the tree across the street but ends up breaking some bulbs and mangling the tree so it is rather disastrous looking once it arrives at the Krank’s house. Once Luther informs Vic that Blair is coming home the whole neighborhood frantically helps Luther and Nora get the house ready for the party with decorations, food and having the police give Blair and her fiance a ride from the airport.
The party ends up being a great success and Luther decides to give the cruise to his neighbors Walt and Bev to enjoy as a gift. They are reluctant to accept but end up agreeing to the cruise and are very thankful to Luther for his generous offer. Luther then realizes what a bad idea it would be to skip a wonderful holiday like Christmas.
Christmas with the Kranks did not fare well in the movies and hasn’t gotten great response from most reviewers but i found the movie enjoyable and humorous and worthy a spot in the Christmas rotation each year. It’s a flix you can laugh through and at the same time see why Christmas is a important time of the year.