"How the Krank Almost Stole Christmas"
CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS, based on the John Grisham novel SKIPPING CHRISTMAS, is a surprisingly funny and warm Christmas movie that skews more toward Santa than Jesus but still contains a redemptive Christian message.
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as Luther and Nora Krank. The Kranks are facing a lonely Christmas season as their only daughter is going to be away from home for the first time. Instead of wallowing in sadness, Luther convinces Nora to go on a Caribbean cruise during Christmas week. They won’t put up any decorations, won’t give gifts, and will forego their annual Christmas party.
First, the Kranks’ neighbors get upset at Luther’s curmudgeonly behavior, then their whole town gets involved. No matter how much pressure is applied, Luther refuses to change his mind and acknowledge the season. When Luther and Nora’s daughter calls on Christmas Eve to announce that she’s coming home with her fiancée, her parents relent and scramble to decorate the house and plan their party.
That Luther turns from curmudgeon to a warm-hearted giver might seem cliché to some, especially in a holiday movie, but what’s neat about CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS is its clear analogy for Christ’s gift to us, which was first given at Christmas. After Luther gives in to the “Christmas spirit,” he gives something that’s very important to him to one of his neighbors who has been having a rough time. The humble neighbor is embarrassed to accept the valuable gift, but Luther tells him that the gift doesn’t have a price. The neighbor didn’t have to earn it or pay Luther back for it. This spirit of true giving is certainly modeled on the selflessness of Christ. Although we do not deserve Christ’s sacrificial gift of salvation, we can still receive it.
Luther also realizes the value of community and generosity, which are certainly biblical values. He comes to regret his selfish behavior. Even if we have heard these messages a thousand times before in movies, they are still relevant and important ones that can be taken to heart.
Tim Allen is actually quite funny and fun to watch as Luther Krank. Both he and Jamie Lee Curtis bring more to the movie than was probably required, which makes it a more human experience than just a slapstick-laden cartoon. Don’t make any mistake though – the movie is slapstick heavy, with lots of pratfalls and pranks.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS may not be destined to become a Christmas classic, but it’s a pleasant and relatively clean movie for the family to enjoy.
(BB, CC, L, V, A, M) Strong moral worldview that extols the value of generosity, kindness and community, with a clear Christian message about receiving a merciful and sacrificial gift that has no price and a man who turns from being bitter to generous; two light obscenities and three profanities; lots of comedic slapstick violence, such as man’s fingers caught in car window, woman bumps head on tanning bed, people slip on ice, man steps on cat’s tail, man tackles mischievous child, police stop burglar, and pratfalls; no implied or depicted sex, but some light innuendo between husband and wife, and dad overreacts to news of his daughter’s fiancée; no nudity, but woman appears in bikini; adult characters drink beer and wine and shop in liquor store; no smoking; and, curmudgeonly man attempts to ignore the Christmas season, selfishness rebuked, man accumulates ice on his sidewalk so that people will slip, and criminal lies and burglarizes (rebuked).
CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS is a surprisingly funny and warm Christmas movie with a redemptive message. Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as Luther and Nora Krank. The Kranks are facing a lonely Christmas season, because their only daughter is away from home for the first time. Instead of being depressed, Luther convinces Nora to go on a cruise – they won’t put up any decorations, won’t give gifts, and will forego their annual Christmas party. When their daughter calls on Christmas Eve to announce she’s coming home with her fiancée, they scramble to decorate the house and plan their party.
What’s special about CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS is its clear analogy to Jesus Christ’s gift to us. Luther gives something that’s very important to him to one of his neighbors, who has been having a rough time. Luther tells him that the gift doesn’t have a price and that he didn’t have to earn it or pay Luther back for it. This spirit of true giving is modeled on the selflessness of Christ. Despite minimal foul language and a few light innuendoes, most families won’t mind spending Christmas with the Kranks.