It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve seen “Christmas with the Kranks” and my initial impression was not a positive one. It spawned from the heartfelt novel “Skipping Christmas” about rediscovering the Christmas spirit after your children are grown. John Grisham’s novel addresses what a lot of us struggle with around the holidays. From the financial burden to the stress of shopping, decorating, and the expectation of being bloody merry all the time is tangible. After ten years I have to once again recommend skipping “Christmas with the Kranks” and read Grisham’s book if you want a good, quick story.
“You’re skipping Christmas! Isn’t that against the law?”
“Christmas with the Kranks” starts well enough with the premise that Mr. and Mrs. generic white couple have lost their Christmas spirit. Their daughter is off to the peace corps, and a year without her seems blight. Mr. Krank proposes to his wife that they forgo the yearly stress and financial pressure and take a Caribbean trip and celebrate just the two of them.
What follows is what you might expect. Friends, neighbors, and co-workers lay on a heavy guilt trip. Now that their annual Christmas celebration and otherwise plans have been canceled. They tell everyone to shove it, and that part of the story is quite liberating. Fast forward and daughter lets them know at last minute that she’ll be returning home for Christmas. For some reason, the Kranks feel like they can’t tell their adult daughter their plans and have to throw together their regular holiday gathering last minute. Hilarity is supposed to ensue. It does not.
“Nora Krank, we’re here for Frosty!”
What’s really frustrating here and just doesn’t translate from Grisham’s well-intended written words is the hyperbole reaction of the general public to the couple “not celebrating” Christmas this year. The pressure of the neighborhood and others IS supposed to be exaggerated for comedic purposes and impact. But it’s hard to watch without feeling oppressed. At some point, as an adult I want our supposed protagonists to tell all of these people to eat some razor blades. Alas, that never happens. This overzealous harassment that is supposed to humorously translate as “pressure” isn’t funny at all.
Meanwhile, the punishment the “Kranks” take for their choice begins to eat at the two of them. To effectively demonstrate this we are voyeurs to what can only be described as an unhealthy marriage, Not to mention a miserable outlook on life in general. Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen are funny people and they aren’t funny here. They aren’t swayed to find their Christmas spirit from the heart. They say this trip isn’t about money, but they also refused their local charities. These are supposed to be our protagonists! The ultimate conclusion the film brings you to is not only patronizing, but it’s also a completely hypocritical sentiment.
” I look like a Mafia Lieutenant.”
There’s a reason this has 5% on rotten tomatoes. “Christmas with the Kranks” isn’t about the holiday spirit. It’s about conforming, consumerism, and the consequences if you don’t you’ll pay the price. This is a nasty movie that has entirely missed the point. “Krampus” is a horror movie that understands about caring and where the season is supposed to live more than this rubbish ever will. I rarely say I hate movies, but this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Twice. Bah fucking humbug.
Rating .5/5 Stars (The .5 is for JLC showing her real body and that had nothing to do with the actual film)