Reviewed by: Ed Cox
|Featuring:||Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Julie Gonzalo, Dan Aykroyd, Jake Busey|
|Producer:||Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe|
REVIEWS of other Christmas movies
“No! Ho! Ho!”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther (Allen) and Nora Krank (Curtis) have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether, despite the fact that they’re usually the most fanatical about it. They might as well, since it won’t be the same without their daughter, who’s away in the tropics. They get the idea to JOIN their daughter in sunny paradise as a surprise, and thus, theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. But when their daughter surprises THEM by cutting her trip short and returning home for Christmas, there’s a mad scramble to prepare themselves to have the traditional Christmas fanfare on extremely short notice.”
When the producer’s of the movie can’t get the description of the plot exactly right, it gives you an idea the movie is going to have its fits and starts and perhaps never confidently reach the finish line. The daughter is with the Peace Corps in Peru, which may be a tropical climate, but not exactly an island paradise.
Before anyone reads too far and misses this point—here is the main one to offer in the review. THIS IS NOT A CHILDREN’S MOVIE. It is an adult-themed movie that does not cross the PG line, but does use humor in a way that goes way over the head of the children in attendance. If you are expecting to see another in the “Santa Clause” franchise you are going to be disappointed.
Things to watch out for—1 D, 1 H, a few Lord’s name in vain. There are a several jokes regarding “but it’s not even Saturday night” that made me feel uncomfortable sitting with my 12-year-old daughters. Yes, the two main characters are married, but the “will the table hold” was over the top. Add in a yard of cleavage from both a bit-character as well as Ms. Curtis at a tanning booth (as well as Tim Allen in a Speedo), and the visuals in this movie are a little much.
Anytime Hollywood makes a “Christmas” movie, you have a conflict of interest between the world view and a Christ-centered view. Your eschatology will not be challenged with this movie as all references to Christmas are white icing feel good with no messy references to Christ that make Hollywood want to wear oven mitts.
See our special section on the true meaning of Christmas
The standard fare is man thinks of self, world reacts in horror, man reflects, man changes self. As we know from Scripture, none are worthy, no not one. We do not have the ability to change except that which is granted by God through the Holy Spirit to change the heart and therefore the life.
The only two references to “church” in the film is an argument between husband and wife about whether they will make a donation to the church as they always do. The argument was not about whether they are honoring the teachings of scripture about money management and tithing (the most talked about subject in the Bible), but rather treat this issue in the same breath as buying the annual Police calendar. The second is a mall scene with Jamie Lee Curtis in a bikini designed for a younger woman, only to be discovered by her priest.
I wanted so desperately for this movie to work. The joy of having Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis in a movie together under a family theme seemed to hold such promise. But I’m afraid I must report that the movie just does not work. It comes across as white cake that is sprinkled with a few funny gags that could easily be placed anywhere on the cake for effect. It is indeed as if the left hand of the movie didn’t know what the right hand was doing.
Our audience at the 11:10AM showing had a number of young children in attendance, so my comments about this being adult humor is field tested—they just sat there and ate their popcorn. I do need to clarify that this is not adult in the common use of four letter words as supposedly “adult” language. Rather, the humor is steeped in situations that only adults will appreciate (the husband trying desperately to please his wife in the placement of outdoor lights to no avail, only to be electrically shocked and fall into the shrubs for his effort). You have to have lived that type of moment to really appreciate it. Having an adult child bring home a boyfriend who has asked for her hand in marriage is another example. An empty nester moment, one lost on tweeners and below.
The movie sits in at about 1 hour and 50 minutes and leaves a bland taste in the mouth. Leave the young kids at home, the money will only be wasted. Rent “Elf” for them which has more of a kid flavor. As for your teenagers and adults, this movie is not going to clear the fence; it will be on store shelves next Christmas in the $5.99 bargain bin.
See our personal interview with Tim Allen, Dan Aykroyd and one of the producers of “Christmas with the Kranks.”
If you do end up seeing the movie, here are some things to watch for and talk with your children about (for there are positives nestled in the branches of the script).
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor