Movie Reviews: Christmas with the Kranks

Christmas with the Kranks

Christmas with the Kranks Summary

After Riverside, Illinois couple Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) see their daughter, Blair (Julie Gonzalo), depart for a Peace Corps assignment in Peru on the Sunday following Thanksgiving, empty nest syndrome sets in. Luther calculates that he and Nora spent $6,132 during the previous year’s holiday season and, not looking forward to celebrating Christmas without their daughter, he suggests they invest the money usually spent on decorations, gifts, and entertainment and treat themselves to a ten-day Caribbean cruise instead. Luther insists that they completely boycott the holidays, and eventually Nora agrees.

The Kranks are amazed to discover they are considered pariahs as a result of their decision to skip the holidays. Most vocal in their objections are neighbors Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and Walt Scheel (M. Emmet Walsh). Vic, who is the self-proclaimed leader of the street, organizes a campaign to force the Kranks to decorate their home. Walt does not seem to like Luther, so his efforts are primarily personal. However, it is revealed that Walt’s wife Bev is suffering from cancer, perhaps dampening his holiday spirits. Children, led by Vic’s son Spike (Erik Per Sullivan), constantly force them to put up a Frosty the Snowman decoration, and Christmas carolers try to revive the Kranks’ holiday spirit by singing on their lawn, which Luther stops by freezing his front lawn. Even the newspaper gets into the act by publishing a front-page story complete with a photograph of the unlit Krank house. Still, Luther and Nora continue to stand their ground. Luther’s office colleagues, scout tree salesmen, and police fund collectors are also annoyed.

The two are in the process of packing on Christmas Eve morning when they receive a call from Blair, who announces that she is at Miami International Airport, en route home with her Peruvian fiancé Enrique as a surprise for her parents. When Blair asks if they are having their usual party that night, a panicked Nora says yes. Comic chaos ensues as Luther and Nora find themselves trying to decorate the house and coordinate a party with only twelve hours to spare before their daughter and future son-in-law arrive.

While Nora scrambles to find food, Luther goes to buy a tree, but is unable to get anything but a small, dried-up tree that quickly loses what few leaves it has. Luther then attempts to borrow the tree of neighbor Wes Trogdon (who is going away for a week with family to visit his in-laws) with the warning that he is not to break a single ornament or damage it. Luther enlists Spike’s help to transport the tree across the street, but the neighbors spot him and, assuming he is stealing the tree, they call the police. Spike comes to Luther’s rescue by showing that Luther has Trogdon’s keys and thus was given permission to borrow the tree. Nora comes home, having only been able to obtain smoked trout, and orders Luther to put up Frosty on the roof of their house, which fails miserably when he and Frosty fall off the roof.

Once it is established why Luther is trying frantically to decorate his home, the neighbors, led by Vic, come out in full force to help him and Nora ready it for Blair. Blair calls to say she landed from Miami, and the neighbors send the police to pick her up and stall long enough to let everyone finish setting up. The party starts off strong, with Blair having no idea of the earlier drama. Enrique thanks everyone for the warm welcome, and Nora thanks her neighbors for being a strong community. Luther, to everyone’s disappointment, offers only a half-hearted toast. When Nora confronts Luther, he tries to convince her to still go on the cruise, but Nora refuses, disgusted that he is not happy that Blair is home. Having a change of heart, Luther slips out of the house and goes across the street to the Scheel home. Bev’s cancer, once in remission, has returned and, knowing this may be their last holiday together, Luther insists they take the cruise in place of him and Nora, going so far as to offer to take care of their cat, Muffles, to allow them to go. At first Walt and Bev decline, but ultimately decide to accept his generosity. Luther, whose holiday spirit has been renewed, finally admits that skipping Christmas was not a good idea, with Nora suggesting they should maybe do it next year.

Christmas with the Kranks Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fun competitive movie for the family during the holiday season. Funny, festive and over the top. It brings the comedy.

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