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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 7.95%
Just Average: 4.55%
Pretty Crappy: 14.77%

7 reviews, 46 user ratings

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Christmas with the Kranks
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"A horrible holiday gift. I'd rather get socks."
1 stars

The good news: “Christmas With the Kranks” is not, despite what you may have heard, the worst holiday movie this year (that title belongs to the stupefying “Surviving Christmas”). The bad news: it’s not that far behind.

The film, adapted from John Grisham’s novel “Skipping Christmas” (I’m guessing the title was changed to avoid confusion with “Surviving”) is an all-around dud, the kind of comedy that has people sliding across a patch of ice, knocking others over, screaming all the way, all in the name of broad slapstick. The kind of comedy where you’re wondering why they’re recycling physical comedy gags from “Snow Dogs.” The kind of comedy where you’ll watch Tim Allen slip off a rooftop and think, yeah, well, whatever, where did I put that crossword puzzle?

The most telling aspect of the movie comes in the form of a holiday wreath. The plot, you see, involves the neighborhood’s two biggest Christmasers, Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis), who decide one year to scrap it all, boycott Christmas, and instead use the money on a Caribbean cruise that leaves on December 25. The boycott, for reasons never quite logical enough to work, includes not only not buying gifts, but also refusing to decorate or even return a “Merry Christmas” to a friendly passer-by.

Long story short, the Kranks (get it? Kranks? where do they come up with such comic gems?!) refuse to cover their house with the usual tacky displays... except throughout the film, we keep seeing a wreath on their door. Only sometimes we don’t, too. The wreath disappears, then reappears, and if you’re wondering why it comes and goes, you’ve probably given up why they put it up in the first place, considering the boycott. Turns out the wreath exists merely so in one scene, Luther can get mad and tear the wreath down.

In other words, nobody put a lick of thought into any of this. If they had, they probably wouldn’t have left in all the mind-numbingly annoying moments in which the rest of the neighborhood - not a Jew, Muslim, or Athiest on the block, it seems - becomes outraged (nearing mob-like panic) over the Kranks’ refusal to decorate and celebrate.

OK, sure, it’s a comedy, and I’ll begrudgingly accept the fact that this is no reality, no place where cultural diversity means that most houses remain undecorated. But if you buy this, then you also unveil a deeper, more disturbing notion: that the only way to find peace is to do exactly what your neighbors are doing. Give in to peer pressure, don’t dare be different. What a lovely holiday message.

But yeah, I’m just looking too deeply into this mess of a film. The comedy is annoyingly unfunny and painfully strained. Most of the gags in the movie’s first half involve the Kranks’ failed attempts to get ready for their holiday: Luther gets Botoxed, cue Tim Allen unable to swallow his lunch! Nora visits a tanning bed, cue scene in which a bikini-clad Jamie Lee Curtis stands, embarrassed, in front of their minister, who’s just passing by!

Then things only get worse, because (and how I wish this were not the actual plot) the Kranks’ daughter calls to announce she’s coming home, and instead of saying sorry, we’re leaving, the Kranks decide to pretend like they’ve been celebrating Christmas all along, and can they get a holiday together in just one day, what with all the honey hams sold out and all?

Sweet reindeer meat, what we get here is the worst sitcommy crap you could think up, plus some extra unexpected unbearables on top. Not having read Grisham’s book, I don’t know who to blame, although it is easy to say that Chris Columbus’ screenplay negates every positive point he gained from his Harry Potter movies. This is hackwork of the most unwatchable, the worst sort of thing Columbus could’ve done as a follow-up to the magical “Potter” films. (But let’s not let director Joe Roth off the hook; the full-time producer/part-time director’s work here is doubly lame, showing not a lick of comic intuition.)

And this isn’t just some sort of film critic snobbery here. Behind me sat a crowd of Average Joes and Janes who laughed quite loudly at early slapstick gags... then slowly became quiet as the film unspooled, realizing, one by one, that things were only going to get worse as the credits approached. If these folks, the kind of people who bought tickets to the movie on purpose, hoping it would be as funny as some Cuba Gooding, Jr., comedy thought it was bad, then it must be awful indeed. Not Ben Affleck movie bad, but pretty awful nonetheless.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11183&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/23/04 19:11:29
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User Comments

12/23/13 Michelle O Tim is a TOOL & Jamie is a LUG NUT 2 stars
10/22/09 Rachel Not the best comedy, but it definitely has some parts that make you laugh. 4 stars
10/21/08 Shaun Wallner Not all that funny. 1 stars
9/10/07 Daren As a sub I had to show this movie to several classes to pass time. I wanted to kill myself. 2 stars
2/03/07 X To quote the bloopers guy on Robot Chicken: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 1 stars
1/27/07 William Goss To quote Jamie Lee: "Oh, dear God, this should be outlawed." Hypocritical and humor-free. 1 stars
1/06/07 Frank Rountree OK, but only rent it and watch it once. Tim Allen is good 3 stars
1/02/07 Ken Cain Pretty poor. Don't buy it. 2 stars
11/27/06 MickT anti-fascist and missunderstood,just like Starship Troopers. 3 stars
6/29/06 Ryan_A Even an OK cast can't save a terrible script and bad direction. Allen's typically awful. 1 stars
5/21/06 Diane P just okay for me the book was much better my daughter liked it she's 10 3 stars
4/11/06 Justin A pretty decent Christmas movie. Love Jamie & Tim! 4 stars
3/31/06 mike An Incredibly annoying movie. Just dumb. Only worse movie is cry wolf! 1 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth Fairly terrible, but it did have one of the better casts to hit the big screen in a while 2 stars
12/29/05 tony Its not Christmas Vacation and thats all im going to say 1 stars
12/26/05 Thelma G. calling this abomination crap is an insult to crap 1 stars
11/13/05 Joe Smaltz Really sucks, couldn't finnish it! 1 stars
11/11/05 tatum The Kranks should have spent the Xmas money on a funny script 1 stars
11/05/05 NoVaDJ I would have rather watched an old man write his name in excrement on a wall than this movi 1 stars
7/27/05 ellie it wasn't half bad 4 stars
6/14/05 Quigley quite possibly the worst movie ever to ugli-fy the theater screen 1 stars
5/12/05 Jennifer Regan Nice family movie, and very entertaining! 4 stars
4/28/05 Valerie Furr Kept me laughing and very enjoyable movie. 4 stars
4/23/05 Heather Tarlecky I thought it was worth seeing 4 stars
4/11/05 Ann Lemire Not Great 3 stars
4/09/05 Vince worst movie I've ever seen in theaters 1 stars
3/30/05 Katherine Frazier way too predictable 2 stars
3/24/05 craig varney terrible nonesense 1 stars
2/22/05 re morgan kill me once i finish my popcorn! 1 stars
1/30/05 Katherine Frazier Really boring movie 1 stars
1/17/05 Jeff Anderson WORTHLESS JUNK! If this is the way Xmas is really like in any known universe, WE'RE SCREWED 1 stars
12/29/04 Katie Evridge Entertaining film. Worth seeing if you need something to do for a few hours. 4 stars
12/28/04 Tom Ciorciari Inexcusable crap from those who really shold know better 1 stars
12/17/04 Desperado hey hayfever, it was there because Bush is an ignorant dipshit, so there 1 stars
12/12/04 hayfever Why the Bush-bashing in the Kyle review? That was unneeded. 1 stars
12/10/04 the Grinch Would you put Tim Allen in YOUR movie? 2 stars
12/08/04 lawhog44 Curtis/Aykroyd fans, you'll be a lot happier rewatching Trading Places. PS: Book sucks, too 1 stars
12/04/04 Tmccormick oh my god im going to shoot myself that was so bad 1 stars
11/27/04 KCobain Train wreck 1 stars
11/27/04 Steve Hazelwood Oh my dear lord...Did I pay money for that? 1 stars
11/26/04 Norman Kozlarek Trailer was sooo bad it pissed me off 1 stars
11/26/04 Naka No. Absolutely not. Never. Jesus. 1 stars
11/25/04 Whoop Whoop Sensationally awful. Enough to ensure Allen never acts again. 1 stars
11/24/04 Caiphn 'Hilarious and Fun'? Are you retarded? You are! 2 stars
11/24/04 Kristina Williams Jamie Lee Cutis must RETIRE. NOW. 1 stars
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  24-Nov-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2005



Directed by
  Joe Roth

Written by
  Chris Columbus

  Tim Allen
  Jamie Lee Curtis
  Dan Aykroyd
  Erik Per Sullivan
  Cheech Marin
  Jake Busey

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