|Directed by:||Joe Roth|
|Written by:|| John Grisham|
|Release date:||November 24, 2004|
|Running time:||1 hour, 38 minutes|
|Available on:|| DVD|
Christmas with the Kranks is a 2004 American comedy film directed by Joe Roth and starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. The screenplay, written by Chris Columbus, is based on the 2001 novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.
After 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 they 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. Skeptical at first, Nora finally agrees.
The Kranks are amazed to discover they are considered pariahs as a result of their decision. Luther's coworkers think he has become Ebenezer Scrooge, local stationer Aubie is distressed to lose their order for their engraved greeting cards and Christmas Eve party invitations, the Boy Scout troop is upset and angered when they refuse to purchase one of their Christmas trees to help them make enough money for a camporee, and the police are stunned to discover they won't be buying this year's calendar from them. Most vocal in their objections are neighbors Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and Walt Scheel (M. Emmet Walsh). Vic, who's the unelected leader of the street, organizes a campaign to force them to decorate their home so Hemlock Street won't lose the coveted award for best decorations. Walt doesn't seem to like Luther, so his efforts are primarily personal. However, it is revealed that his wife Bev is suffering from a serious illness, perhaps dampening his holiday spirits. Children picket, neighbors constantly call, and Christmas carolers try to revive the Kranks' holiday spirit by singing on their lawn which Luther stops them by freezing his sidewalk. Even the newspaper gets into the act by publishing a front page story complete with a photograph of the unlit Krank house and states that their street has lost the prize and won sixth place because of how thet refused to decorate their house. Still, they continue to stand their ground.
The two are in the process of packing on Christmas Eve morning when they receive a call from Blair, who announces she's at Miami International Airport, en route home with her Peruvian fiancé as a surprise for her parents. She's anxious to introduce Enrique to her family's holiday traditions, and when she asks if they're having their usual party that night, a panicked Nora says yes, much to Luther's dismay. Comic chaos ensues as they finds 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, especially Blair's favorite ham, Luther buys a tree from the Boy Scouts but they only have one left; a dead, ugly, non-green one. He buys it anyway but rejects it by throwing it in his backyard. While Vic's children picket at Luther's house, he arranges to borrow the tree of a neighbor who is going away for a couple of days. He and Vic's son, Spike, try to transport it across the street on Spike's Radio Flyer wagon, only for the neighbors to confuse this to be him stealing it, and to be stopped by the police, who assume they have stopped a robbery in progress. Nora comes home enraged at Luther for making the Christmas tree a "Disaster" and how she had to buy "Smoked Trout" to replace the ham (because it rolled into the street and got smashed by a truck). Once it is established why Luther is trying frantically to decorate his home, the neighbors come out full force to help him and Nora ready it for Blair. She calls to say she landed from Miami. Luther tries to answer the phone first so he can send her back to Peru, but fails; Nora beats him to it.
After giving everybody, including Blair and Enrique, a unthankful and non-friendly toast, Luther tries to convince Nora to accept the cruise when she confronts him for the toast, but she refuses, disgusted that he isn't happy that Blair's home. He sadly 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 hated cat, Muffles. At first they decline, but ultimately they accept his generosity, and he, whose holiday spirit has been renewed, realizes that skipping Christmas wasn't as good an idea as he had originally thought.
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