It seems that Tim Allen is going to appear in Christmas films for the rest of his career. How many more Santa Clause sequels can the world handle?
Christmas with the Kranks isn't a typical Christmas film. It isn't any type of film that I could put my finger on. Christmas films are pretty much all variations on A Christmas Carol. Bad, grumpy person finds the spirit of blah blah snore. The Kranks aren't bad people, nor are they grumpy-bums in need of spirit lifting. They logically look at what they spend ($6000!) on Christmas every year and decide that a vacation would be cheaper and a great way to spend the holidays. Smart thinking.
A comedy is usually defined by it's air of, well, comedy. Kranks certainly had many funny moments, but when the neighbourhood started to really hound the Kranks about their foregoing Christmas the comedy got lost. It may have been my preconceived idea that it was a John Grisham novel, and therefore will have suspense throughout. I was confused about the direction the film was going, because it veered away from the comedy into mild suspense.
The carollers jumping up in the windows was one moment of confused comedy. Funny, yes, but the score wasn't supportive of it.
I enjoyed the way the Kranks held out by not giving into the peer pressure of the neighbours and the local ring-leader played by Dan Aykroyd. They were well within their rights to refuse to participate, and I was totally behind them. Some of the unfortunate things Luther and Nora did to themselves were very funny, and surprising.
It wasn't until the daughter rang up and said she was coming home that I started to get a bit confused. Luther and Nora (great names) both started to do things terribly desperate and out of character. All to lie to their daughter, who, I think, would have been totally fine with it all. Luther did some really unforgivable things, and I was concerned toward the end how he was going to redeem himself. It's a Christmas movie, so he does get redeemed, but by this stage I felt rather betrayed by them and really hating the neighbours.
When I saw Chris Columbus in the opening credits, I hoped it was a good sign. I didn't realise then that he was the screenwriter of this film. It puts it all into perspective of why the plot was a mish-mosh. This is the man who wrote Nine Months. Nuff said.
I mildly enjoyed Christmas with the Kranks but left with that familiar dissatisfaction of a poorly executed story trying to get by with name actors.