Monday, December 22, 2008

25 Days: Christmas with the Kranks

Yet another Tim Allen Christmas movie. He seems to have cornered the market, although Vince Vaughn appears to be nipping at his heels.

Anyway, Christmas with the Kranks is a holiday movie adapted from John Grisham's novel, 'Skipping Christmas'. The name was changed due to Ben Affleck's Surviving Christmas which was released around the same time - the powers wanted to avoid confusion.

So, Luther (Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) are usually filled with Christmas spirit, except this year their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) has joined the Peace Corps and will not be celebrating Christmas with the family.

Instead of sulking their way through the holidays, Luther devises a plan to skip Christmas altogether, and take a cruise with his wife. He even figured that they spend over $6,000 on Christmas each year - but would actually save money by taking the cruise.

This begins sort of a Twilight Zone effect from the neighborhood. Apparently, the entire neighborhood relies on attending the Kranks Christmas Eve party, and without the Kranks holiday decorations - including a large Frosty the Snowman - the neighborhood lost the lighting contest.

Nora is a bit apprehensive about taking the trip and skipping Christmas, but soon comes around. With just 24 hours to go until the cruise - the Kranks receive a phone call. Their daughter is coming home for Christmas, and is bringing her fiance.

This throws the Kranks, and soon the entire neighborhood, into Operation Bring Blair Home, as they decorate the house, get things ready for the holiday party and pick the pair up at the airport.

I was a bit confused by Luther's intentions. While watching I was under the impression that he didn't want to celebrate Christmas due to his daughter being absent - and it would hurt too much celebrating without her. But even after she came home, he was determined to go on the cruise.

The end of the film is rather touching - as Luther has a change of heart and helps out his neighbors across the street, the Scheel's.

A lot of famous faces in the film, including Dan Aykroyd as Vic Frohmyer, Erik Per Sullivan as Spike, Cheech Marin and Jake Busey as police officers, M. Emmet Walsh as Walt Scheel and Tom Poston as Father Zabriskie - in what would be his final film role.

Walsh and Poston were also in Allen's television series Home Improvement.

This film took a lot of hits from critics, but I have to admit I rather enjoyed it. It's not a holiday classic or anything, but it was pretty funny - and a good watch.

My lone complaint was Luther's antics after Blair was coming home. It would have been a lot better if he was sincere about his reasonings for going on the cruise - because he missed his daughter.


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