Nora: We skip Christmas?!
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Christmas traditions come in many forms. Some people honor them, some people don’t. Some traditions everlast while some die out. And that’s OKAY! But not according to this movie. It’s based off a book called Skipping Christmas and while I’ve never read it, if this movie is any indication of it…it’s complete and utter trash.
The story involves Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) Krank planning to skip their town Christmas traditions and commercialism and go on a Caribbean cruise instead. Their Christmas obsessed neighbors Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and Walt Scheel (M. Emmet Walsh) are especially not pleased with this as they do not want to lose the “best decorated street” competition and the Kranks are made pariahs due to their lack of Christmas spirit.
The movie really has nothing clever in its scenarios or slapstick. If you’ve seen any kid friendly slapstick comedy movie you’ve pretty much seen all the slapstick in this one. Nothing about it is original. But regardless of this the story is horribly flawed. The Kranks have no reason to totally boycott Christmas. Assuming it’s too expensive they completely refuse to participate in aspects that are free like putting up their Frosty the Snowman decoration for the town’s annual competition. Assuming they think Christmas is over-commercialized they refuse to participate in the non-commercialized aspects like making their yearly charitable donations, sending a couple Christmas cards, buying a Christmas tree to help some Boy Scouts afford a camporee, or even purchase a Christmas Calendar. There’s no understanding of why the Kranks are being such grinches and as a result it’s difficult to sympathize with them even with the neighborhood harassing and vilifying them nonstop and making it such a big deal that these two people alone are skipping the holiday. This is supposed to come off as comedy but it all comes off as disturbing more than anything. And when they finally do agree to celebrate Christmas it’s really contrived. The only upside I can think to this whole thing is Luther giving up the cruise to Walt and his wife as she has cancer and may very well be their last holiday together. It’s legitimately heartwarming although with everything else it’s too little too late to care for anything about it. Lord knows how they would treat Jewish people in this neighborhood.
Performance wise there’s nothing much to say about it. Tim Allen definitely plays this role well as he had done two Christmas movies prior and has eased into playing this half-witted character. Jamie Lee Curtis’ role is just disappointing as her comedic talents are wasted on these recycled slapstick shenanigans that are well beneath her.
Overall Christmas with the Kranks is just an overall terrible movie. The jokes fall flat on their face, the cast’s talents are wasted, there is no one to root for, the people in no way act like well…people, the town’s promotion of conformity is downright DISTURBING, and overall it does not fit the holiday spirit. I can assure you there are plenty of better neighborhoods to celebrate Christmas.