Article by Britt Gillette
Based on the best-selling John Grisham novel titled Skipping Christmas, Christmas With The Kranks resembles the book in almost every facet save for the title. Starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, Christmas With The Kranks is an instant Christmas holiday classic. Although not in the same league of Yule tide comedy gems Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story, this film ranks high on my list of holiday laughers. The supporting cast (led by perpetual funnyman Dan Aykroyd) turns in a superb performance, making Christmas With The Kranks an easy film to relate to and one you’ll want to see many times in the years to come…
When the college-age daughter of the Kranks joins the Peace Corps and flies to South America for Christmas, her mother battles with a case of the empty nest blues. But her father, accountant Luther Krank (Tim Allen), takes advantage of the opportunity to shake things up a bit. Tallying all the money he and his wife Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) spend on Christmas, he determines that if they skip Christmas this year, they can afford to go on a week-long cruise instead and still pocket three thousand dollars in savings at the end of the trip.
But skipping Christmas turns out to be more difficult than they thought – especially when it comes to participating in neighborhood traditions such as the mounting of the roof-bound ‘Frosties’ (giant snowmen all the neighbors plant on their roofs). The neighborhood struggle over the Kranks’ reluctance to put up their Frosty leads to some memorable and quite funny scenes where the couple encounters Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd), the de facto leader of the neighborhood Christmas celebration. The Kranks continue to avoid all things Christmas related, and having visiting the tanning salon, they’re prepared to go on their cruise Christmas Eve.
But when their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) calls with the announcement that she’s getting married, and more importantly, that she’s on a plane bound for home – the Kranks are forced to miss their cruise and recreate all the festivities of Christmas Past for Blair and her fiancée. But attempting to do a whole month’s preparation in one evening proves to be a monumental task, and one filled with hilarious pitfalls and obstacles…
Offering hilarious scene after hilarious scene, Christmas With The Kranks is one of the funniest comedies in years, and certainly one of the top ten Christmas comedies of all time. At no time does the humor become outlandish or utterly ridiculous as so many such films tend to do. Overall, one of the more lovable aspects of this film is its ability to relate to so many American families. In fact, you might see a bit of your own family in Christmas With The Kranks… The fact that it’s one of those rare holiday classics with the potential to be seen year after year makes Christmas With The Kranks a definite must-see movie.
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