Here’s one for the red states. Adapted from John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas by Chris Columbus and directed by Joe Roth (America’s Sweethearts), Christmas with the Kranks depicts a merry Crucible-style witch hunt against a man and woman who decide to forgo the yuletide season for a tropical cruise after their daughter heads to South America on a Peace Corps mission. The film’s guilt-tripping brigade includes a woman with cancer and a priest who stares at Nora’s tatas (uncomfortable!) and is led by busybody Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd), who insists that Luther (Allen) and his wife Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) join the entire town by putting up an eight-foot Frosty the Snowman decoration on their roof. Sure, Tim Allen’s grinch goes to the extreme—he refuses to buy a calendar from the local police department and a Christmas tree from a feisty Boy Scouts troop—but why the man’s thriftiness registers as an assault on traditional values is anyone’s guess. Then again, money is no object in this preposterously close-knit town, so if the Kranks can afford to spend 6k one year on Christmas festivities, they probably deserve all the scorn in the world. When daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) calls to say that she’s coming home with her future husband, the Peruvian Enrique (spelled and pronounced by everyone as “N. Reeky”—because, you know, white people are funny like that), Luther and Nora change their minds and the town bands together to help them cheer up their home…and hearts. Curtis’s crisis with a Christmas ham is moderately amusing, but if the Creepy Stranger (Santa anyone?) and Playful Thief subplots haven’t tipped you off, Christmas with the Cranks is but a Home Improvement holiday special spread out to an impossibly long 90 minutes.
- Joe Roth
- Chris Columbus
- Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, Felicity Huffman, Jake Busey, Cheech Marin, Caroline Rhea, David Hornsby, Julie Gonzalo
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