December 6, 2004

Movie Review: Christmas with the Kranks

This past Friday night I was trying to pick out a movie to go see, and since there were no releases of note my choices were limited. My sister, also wanting to go to a movie suggested that we go see Christmas with the Kranks. I know that all of the reviews were bad, I also had friends who had seen it and confirmed it's badness. Despite that, and the fact that the trailers gave away the whole film, we made the trip out to see it. All of the bad word turned out to be true.

The story follows the Krank family and their attempts to skip Christmas. You see, their daughter has joined the Peace Corps and has left for Brazil leaving the Kranks with an empty home. In an effort to fill that emptiness, Luther Krank (Tim Allen) hatches a plot to skip the holiday season and use the money they saved to go on a cruise. Of course these plans change when, on Christmas Eve of all days, their daughter calls to say that she will be coming home, that evening. This sends the Kranks and the entire neighborhood into a frenzy to get read for her arrival and cover up their plans.

All that said doesn't give anything away, you can learn all of that just by watching the trailers. All I really hoped for going in was that I be more entertained than I was when I saw Alexander, recently. I'd rather have watched that again, at least there we had a film that tried to be good, it failed, but at least it tried.

The acting from all involved in this misbegotten project is awful. Overacting is the norm here. Tim Allen struggles, but just does not generate an interesting presence, he comes of as smarmy and selfish until the broadcasted ending is arrived at. Jamie Lee Curtis gives one of the worst performances I have ever seen from her. She is constantly yelling, and freaking out, and just being generally annoying. It was almost as if the cast saw how bad this movie was going to be and just decided to see how bad they could be.

The townsfolk are another case altogether. Apparently, they do nothing except get ready for Christmas and harass Curtis, as she cowers behind the curtains. This rivalry between the Kranks and the town accounts for the majority of the running time. They go back and forth over various things, like buying a tree, and setting up Frosty, and having a Christmas Eve party. None of this made me smile, or even thinking that it was funny.

The cast has so much talent, maybe the writer figured with this kind of talent, they didn't need to write a script. There was one funny segment in the entire film, and the joke was given away for free in the commercials. It is a misbegotten mess from the get go.

The stars constantly mugging for the camera, dull camerawoirk, horrible dialogue, and some reject set from the backlot all combine to give this a really dull feel. I did not care about any of the characters ore there supposed problems. All of the characters are cardboard cutouts of real people forced to live in some alternate dimension where it is OK to live in a Stepford type town. There really is nothing to like here.

Bottomline. I recently watched Elf on DVD, I love that film, and after seeing this it made me love Elf even more. All I can really say is avoid this unfunny clunker, it is one of the worst movies of the year. If you want a classic Christmas tale from recent years, go to Elf, quickly.

Not Recommended.


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