Aside from the fact Christmas With The Kranks telegraphs its ending some fifteen minutes into it this is a great holiday comedy that will satisfy both the grinch and scrooge and the Santa Claus and Mother Claus in the family. Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are great as Luther and Nora Krank, a couple who decides to forgo Christmas and all its trappings when they see their daughter will not be home for Christmas. This, of course, riles up their entire holiday season brainwashed neighborhood and especially block warden Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and sets the Kranks on a collision course with the entire community.
Of course, the title itself, Christmas With The Kranks, give you a pretty good idea of what happens next
Tim Allen (Santa Clause and Santa Clause 2) and Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, many other comedies, and still a babe at forty something) are in fine form in Christmas With The Kranks. Allen does a very good Jerry Lewis bit at the beginning of the movie culminating with a calculator version of Lewis' typewriter set to music bit from Who's Minding The Store?.
There are quite a few very good actors here too such as Caroline Rhea, M. Emmet Walsh, Cheech Marin, Tom Poston, and Jake Busey. This movie was adapted from the John Grisham novel Skipping Christmas by Chris Columbus of Home Alone fame.
Christmas With The Kranks is a little dark and grinch like at the beginning. The Kranks decide to skip Christmas and their neighbors turn against them. Luther Krank adds insult to injury when he refuses to buy a calendar from the police benevolent association and, of course, the cops get even the minute they get a chance.
The many scenes of the Kranks resisting their neighbor's calls to conform, including some very aggressive carolers, are both hilarious and, in some ways, a very good comment on our modern obsession with the Christmas season, keeping up appearances, and how people turn on you when you do not conform to a point they will picket your house yelling "Free Frosty!".
When their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) calls to announce she will be home for the holidays after all, Nora Krank does a 360 and decides to put together a real Christmas together at the last minute while poor Luther is dragged along with her. This leads to some more very funny but caustic scenes that are both funny and a comment on the commercialism of the season. Particularly funny is the race in the grocery store for the last hickory honey ham and the bit of running gag that goes with that tale.
The entire movie also does a 360 and the entire neighborhood, Vic Frohmeyer at the head of it, decides to stop ganging up on the Kranks and help Nora and Luther put a real Christmas together for her daughter. This is where the movie goes from a somewhat dark comedy to your basic feel good sugary sweet and very sappy movie.
Christmas With The Kranks is a great Christmas movie. Fun for the whole family and grinches too.