2009 Holiday Movieathon
No Christmas TREES!
Directed By: Joe Roth
Written By: Christopher Columbus
Based On The Novel By: John Grisham
Staring: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Akroyd, M. Emmet Walsh, Elizabeth Franz, Erik Per Sullivan, Austin Pendleton, Cheech Marin, Jake Busey, Caroline Rhea, René Lavan, Felicity Huffman, and Julie Gonzalo
…as odd as it sounds, I didn’t think to ask the butcher where the chocolate was! -Luther Krank
My holiday film watching season is starting off in a very bleak manner. I did not enjoy the book “Skipping Christmas”, an uncharacteristic departure for John Grisham, and I am an avid reader of his work. I approached this film adaptation cautiously, but harboring some hope because of my affection for both Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. After watching this evil and fascist film I feel like I’ve swallowed poison. Christmas With The Kranks is the sort of film that leaves you wanting to cheer BAH HUMBUG! There was a feeling of being suffocated by Christmas and conforming all in the same breath. There was very little redeeming about this mean spirited Christmas comedy.
The neighborhood it’s set in makes Whoville look like a very mellow supporter of Christmas, with exception of course to the Grinch-like characters of the Kranks who have lost their holiday spirit facing the idea of spending their first Christmas without their daughter who has joined the Peace Corps. To avoid the sting of solitude and the mass anxiety that accompanies the Holiday hustle, they opt to treat themselves to a romantic holiday on a Caribbean Cruise. Somewhere in the world created by Joe Roth, this is a apparently blasphemy. As the neighbors discover this apparent Faux Pas, the pod people emerge and point their fingers like Donald Sutherland. Somehow though, as the story progresses we are encouraged to be enlightened by these conformist pod people?
The biggest problem here is Roth makes the gregarious error of making Luther and his wife’s protest against the conformity of others seem logical and reasonable, and that reason being they are all a group of crazies. But then we are supposed to make a 360 and agree with the wonky neighbors who have been portrayed as insincere and vicious dogmatics? This shallow film and its weak premise celebrates the idea that anyone who doesn’t fall into the social norm of what a Capitalist Christmas should be about should be punished and ridiculed.
The finale hits up with some predictable sentimentality that has no place in the negative spirit the films tone has set. The intensely mediocre feel the film exudes does not dissipate throughout, and the contradictory ending is a slap in the face. The only redeeming quality was Tim Allen who played his part well, the only thing he did wrong was chose this insulting film indulging the materialism of the holidays. Christmas With The Kranks was pathetic and I don’t feel right giving it a single star.