Movie #357 2020: Christmas With the Kranks (2004)

This movie has a poor reputation in that the majority of reviews give it superlatives such as ‘WORST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER’, so obviously I was expecting very little. Well, maybe expecting very little is what helped me to kind of enjoy it!

Christmas with the Kranks has an all-star cast, led by Tim Allen and Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis. Allen’s Luther provides the catalyst for the movie, when he suggests to Curtis’ Nora that they skip Christmas that year and go on a lavish cruise on their own instead. Hesitant at first, Nora finally agrees to it, but when the rest of the town and their families catch on, they do everything they can to force them to cancel their trip. As the film progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that the Kranks will be staying put for Christmas, and the town comes together to arrange their famous annual Christmas Eve party at the last minute.

After watching Gremlins, I guess you could say I was expecting more from a Chris Columbus screenplay. Yes, he wrote this one too. But you know what? I laughed several times throughout this movie. You have to give it to the guy, he can write a pretty decent slapstick gag.

Aside from this being ‘THE WORST CHRISTMAS MOVIER EVER’, the general consensus amongst critics is that this movie isn’t Christmassy enough and the characters aren’t likeable… but isn’t that – you know – the point? Some people just don’t fucking like Christmas. What’s wrong with that?! No one’s out here attacking The Grinch for disliking the holiday season, so why can’t anyone accept that some actual humans don’t like it either? I personally felt like it did a good job at showing a differing opinion for once, and all the cliché niceties still come towards the end anyway, so what’s the issue?

It’s overly lengthy with very little in the way of a cohesive or comprehensive plot, but you can’t deny the brilliance of the cast. Allen and Curtis are extremely funny (“Never say ‘Hickory Honey Ham’ again!” will be etched into my brain forevermore), and no one dislikes an appearance from Caroline Rhea, do they?

So it’s void of all meaning, but it does have Christmas spirit in all honesty. The whole town coming together to throw a last minute holiday bash? What could be more festive than that?! Plus, Allen’s character goes through an almost Scrooge-like transformation by the time the movie concludes, so it’s safe to say that there are tons of Christmas movie tropes embedded within the skeleton of the film.

Those are the only straws I can clutch at to be honest. It’s a funny movie! Is it a good movie? No. And I’m under no impression that anyone would miss it if it fell off the face of the earth… but 1 star? No way. It’s average.

Average but funny. Not the worst, despite what others seem to have said previously.

Christmas with the Kranks is available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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