Christmas with the Kranks
Christmas with the Kranks is a 2004 American Christmas comedy film based on the 2001 novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. It was directed by Joe Rothwith a screenplay by Chris Columbus, and stars Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, Erik Per Sullivan, Cheech Marin, Jake Busey and M. Emmet Walsh. This was Tom Poston's final film before his death in 2007. It was released on November 24, 2004.
Finally alone for the holidays, Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) plan to eschew the Christmas traditions and take a cruise in the Caribbean instead. This doesn't sit well with their Christmas-obsessed neighbors Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and Walt Scheel (M. Emmet Walsh), who are determined to win the annual "best decorated street" competition, and the Kranks soon find themselves social outcasts because of their lack of Christmas spirit.
Why Christmas Got Upside Down
- Awful and obnoxious acting, especially from the actors playing the neighbors.
- Poor humor.
- There is a scene where the two main characters are wearing only skimpy swimwear (Nora is wearing a bikini and Luther is wearing a speedo) at the tanning salon and everyone acts like a pervert, which is both inappropriate and unfunny.
- Weirdly timed music in certain scenes.
- Weak plot twists.
- Extremely mean-spirited. The whole neighborhood and everybody else in town turn against the Kranks because they didn't want to celebrate Christmas, so they keep bothering them.
- Tons of hypocritical messages. Like when Luther is disappointed for not being able to go on the cruise and when Nora accuses Luther being selfish and ungrateful. Even though Nora was kind of selfish throughout the film, and the neighbors selfishly tried to get Luther and Nora to celebrate Christmas instead of going on the cruise.
- There were often close-up shots of a fake snowman decoration with a flaming eyes that give us an impression that something was going to happen or it's going to come alive but it never did anything, making these shots pointless and somewhat scary.
- Bad special effects, especially when Luther falls off the roof, where they put a creepy-looking CGI recreation of Tim Allen's face on the stuntman.
- Christmas with the Kranks killed the careers of its cast and crew.
- It hurt director Joe Roth's career so badly that he only directed one last film, Freedomland, before returning to producing.
- Tim Allen only does voice acting roles in animated movies and special guest appearances on television due to the failure of this movie.
- Dan Aykroyd would not play another major character in a film and decided to focus mostly on his wine business.
- Last but not least, it would be the very last feature film to be based on a John Grisham novel.
- A horrible moral that says you're a bad person if you don't want to celebrate the holidays, and you should never change anything that you do or don't do.
- Luther Krank sees the advertisement of a Carnival Ship then books passage on what he refers as the luxury ship Jubilee. The Carnival Jubilee was one of Carnival's smaller "Holiday" class ships that first sailed in 1986. Shortly before this movie was made, the Jubilee was transferred to P & O lines of Australia and became the Pacific Sun. There is no way Luther could have sailed on the Jubilee in Christmas of '04, making it anachronism.
- Marty, an umbrella salesman who is revealed at the end to be Santa Claus, is the only likable character in the film. The Kranks themselves are okay here.
- John Debney's score is pretty decent.
- The scene where Nora is racing a costumer for a Christmas meal is actually pretty funny.
The film received extremely negative reviews from critics and audiences alike and currently holds a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic consensus that reads "A mirthless movie as fresh as last year's fruit cake, Christmas with the Kranks is a coarse, garish comedy that promotes conformity". Roger Ebert awarded the film a one out of four stars and described it as "a colossal miscalculation". His co-critic Richard Roeper states in his review, "I'm making my list of the worst movies of the year and I'm checking it twice, and I hope to find room for this frantically unfunny disaster".
The film opened at #3 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $21,570,867. The domestic gross would later be $73,780,539. In foreign countries, the film made $22,791,941. Overall, the film made $96,572,480 against its $60 million budget making it a moderate success at the box office.
- Ally Sheedy was considered for the role of Nora.