12 Days of Christmas Films – Day 2: Christmas With The Kranks (2004)

‘You’re skipping Christmas! Isn’t that against the law?’

Image result for christmas with the kranks still

What an odd experience.

I’ve spoken before about moral ambiguity is so important in cinema because in real life people aren’t all good or all bad, they are just people. However. In some films, Christmas films for example, the audience needs to know who to root for. In Christmas With The Kranks pretty much every character is unlikable or forgettable. Jamie Lee Curtis’ over-the-top screeching is an insult to everything she has achieved in the Halloween franchise, Dan Aykroyd’s performance is just plain weird and Tim Allen is, predictably, Tim Allen. It’s all he knows…

When normal suburban family the Kranks decide to skip Christmas in order to go on a cruise, their friends and neighbours go crazy and start spying on them and aggressively singing Christmas carols outside their house. There is no real explanation for the level of vitriol that is unleashed against the Kranks and then, half way through, they all decide to come together to help the black sheep family of the neighbourhood when they decide they do want a Christmas after all. It’s all very strange. Character motivations change seemingly on a whim with no explanation, the sentimental pay off at the end is completely unearned and the unsteady mix of mild fantasy and screwball comedy does not blend well. Why does a snowman come to life at various intervals during the movie? Who knows. Certainly not Tim Allen who seems totally baffled by the whole experience all the way through. In fact, the only thing that this movie has going for it is that the soundtrack is fantastic. Any OST that features the Ramones is OK by me.

Christmas with the Kranks is not as needlessly nasty as Deck The Halls or as stupendously terrible as the horror version of Jack Frost but, make no mistake about it, this is a bad film. There is literally no reason for this film to exist.

Christmas is cancelled. Blame Tim Allen.