Christmas with the Kranks [2004]

Director: Joe Roth
Stars: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, M. Emmet Walsh, Elizabeth Franz
Genre: Comedy, Family
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 99 minutes

Slapstick humor gets a full-body workout in Christmas with the Kranks. Critics were unanimous in their derision, and John Grisham must have gnashed his teeth over what studio-boss-turned-director Joe Roth did to his bestselling novel Skipping Christmas, to which this broad-stroked comedy bears little or no resemblance. The title characters are played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, who decide to skip Christmas because their daughter's in Peru with the Peace Corps. Thus begins a rabid program of enforced conformity when their neighbors (led by Dan Aykroyd) coerce the Kranks into changing their holiday attitude--a change that comes easily when the daughter announces she'll be home for Christmas after all. Imagine if a suburban lynch mob said "Have a Merry Christmas or we'll kill you," and you'll get some idea of what spending Christmas with the Kranks is really like. And if you laughed at the frozen cat, you're probably on Santa's "naughty" list. --Jeff Shannon

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