By Joy Syratt
Christmas is fantastic for most people, excited by the lights, family, glitzed up tree and crowded malls. Even the more overly commercial aspects can be enough to tip us into a holiday cheer tizzy. Unfortunately, the early holiday movie, Christmas with the Kranks, proves to be not as nearly exciting. Although a heartfelt tale of warmth, love and overall Christmas cheer, don’t expect to be crying be the end of the movie. However, expect to see Jamie Lee Curtis in a bikini. Shockingly it’s a sight generating more laughter than awe from the audience.
Starring Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Ackroyd, Christmas with the Kranks is based on the best-selling John Grisham novel Skipping Christmas. Produced and written by Chris Columbus, director of the fine family movies like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire, Kranks tells the story of an upper middle-class couple (Allen and Curtis) who decide to skip Christmas and go on a cruise after their daughter leaves for the Peace Corps. The plot itself is fine, but the movie seems to be chopped up into funny and family time, and unfortunately we get more family time. Thus minor characters become more entertaining than the main characters. There is only so many times you can laugh at Tim Allen falling off the roof. Instead, Jamie Lee Curtis, stuffed in an ornament adorned red Christmas vest, carries the film as the uptight Nora Krank. Her bikini scene is soon to become as infamous as Diane Keaton’s recent flashing in Something’s Gotta Give.
Because of this, as one of the few holiday movies out this season, Christmas with the Kranks surpasses those in the running thanks to its unique cast, including Desperate Housewives’ Felicity Huffman, Caroline Rhea and Erik Per Sullivan from Malcolm in the Middle. With a slow start and almost no laughs until its midway point, the movie isn’t able to shake away all of its holiday blues, but Kranks’ holiday theme saves the day to provide a few funny scenes along the way.
Although Christmas with the Kranks probably won’t become a holiday classic, like It’s a Wonderful Life or Home Alone, the movie succeeds in capturing that blissful spirit called Christmas. With a great supporting cast and memorable roles by Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen (humorous and not so humorous, respectively) the movie creates some laughs and some holiday cheer. Not bad, considering audiences must endure seeing Jamie Lee Curtis in a bikini.