A Kranky Christmas

Stop trying to make Christmas with the Kranks happen 

Andie Bjornsfelt, Contributors 

Christmas with the Kranks is possibly the worst holiday movie of all time. Although it was based on a novel by best-selling author, John Grisham, the film absolutely bombed in the theatres, and continues to suck to this day. 

Despite the fact that it stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, this movie is trash, and not even enjoyable trash. There’s something nightmarish about it—a reverse Christmas Carol. Just as chilling, but the Dicken’s tale actually had a good message. Every December, this movie pops up on my cable.  I know it’s bad, but I have to watch it again to make sure it’s as bad as I remember. 

Luther and Nora Krank live in Riverside, Illionis, in a neighbourhood that’s main purpose for existing is to win the best Christmas decorations contest. The Kranks  win every year. Imagine the Who’s from Whoville, but k-rankier.   

The couple’s  20-ish daughter, Blair, is going away to work in the Peace Corps. They experience some empty nest syndrome, until Luther gets an idea: to skip Christmas altogether and go on a Caribbean cruise! No presents, no decorating, no pine tree.   

He proceeds to type out a letter notifying everyone that the Kranks are skipping Christmas. The neighbourhood goes bananas. They begin stalking the Krank’s in an attempt to force them into changing their minds. Who cares if somebody chooses not to celebrate a holiday? Everybody, apparently. They care so much, that they will not stop until they succeed in getting the Kranks to celebrate Christmas. 

It’s supposed to be a comedy, but it’s not funny. There are exaggerated gags, like the couple wearing scanty bikinis whilst getting a tan, then running into the town priest. Then there’s a botched Botox scene. My favorite, a treasured tinned ham is fought over at the supermarket, only to get loose and run over by a truck. Instead of laughter, these scenes bring up thoughts like—why was this made? Is this necessary? 

There is something sinister about this movie. It’s about conforming to the norms—about change being beaten down and attacked. In the end they try to wrap it up into a pretty bow, saying that skipping Christmas was a bad idea in the first place.   

The film is devoid of anything that makes Christmas special, such as anything to do with faith or sharing true joy with loved ones. What’s especially gross is the intolerance towards anyone going against the majority. It might have even been an interesting satire, if it was more self-aware. 

It’s even worse when it gets all sticky sweet at the end. Luther and Nora lovingly holding each other as they gaze at their house, decorated to-the-max and packed with their manic neighbors. The bad guys win at the end, and the good guys join the bad. Festive, right? 

One Comment

  1. Matthew White

    Gotta disagree, Andie. Sorry you feel this way, but wow, how you are mistaken. This movie is everything that every “Grinch” needs to see. It reminds us all that Christmas isn’t ever really about Christmas… it’s about that one thing no person realizes… the love of their life. And for Tim Allen/Krank it was his daughter. Granted, he was a dick to his neighbors and his wife, but look how he changed his tune once she was coming back. It was frustrating and oh so beautiful. He’s not perfect, nor am I, and nor is anyone else. He loves his daughter more than the world and decided to do his best to give her the “traditional” Christmas she knew. I just love it. We all suck… and we ALL can be better. That’s what I took away from it.

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