Christmas with the Kranks (2004) Film Review | Advent Film Calendar Day 17

Not many people would think of just ignoring Christmas, right? Well this is just what Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Kurtis) decided to do. After their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) decides to go to Peru the day after Thanksgiving and they can’t bare the thought of spending Christmas without her, they decide to ignore Christmas completely.

This leaves their neighbours in complete shock. To be honest, I can see why – who really boycotts Christmas to go on a cruise? The self-proclaimed leader of the street Vic (Dan Akyroyd) and Walt (M. Emmet Walsh) organise a campaign to get them to have their decorations up, which include the ‘beloved’ Frosty statue. They also get the local newspaper involved who run a front page story. Seriously, was there really nothing else going on in the city?

But of course, on Christmas Eve Blair decides to come home with her new fiance Enrique (Rene Decardenal) as a surprise to her parents and it leaves the Kranks in a hurry to organise their well loved Christmas Eve party in less than a day. It is a typical Christmas movie after all, so it all goes to plan.

This film is filled with iconic, hilarious moments. One scene that springs to mind straight away is the whole ‘Free Frosty’ campaign. These people really love the snowman. It starts off with Vic, a group of neighbours and all of their children, that all seem to love Christmas too much, shouting outside demanding to get Frosty. Nora calls Luther in a panic (she is hiding under the quilt at one point) whilst they are demanding she gives into them so they both decide to meet at the mall. As Nora is driving, of course she is greeted by numerous Frostys that are dotted all over the street. Vic then comes running up to her begging her to get into the Christmas spirit, she then puts the window up, hilariously traps his fingers whilst the car is still moving and next minute you know he is on the floor with the gloves still stuck. Let’s just say that even that doesn’t stop them. 

We have to talk about the tanning bed scene. Just why did they think it would be a good idea to go onto a sunbed? In a shopping centre of all places? In peak Christmas period? Like everything else in the film, this also goes wrong – the Kranks have awful luck. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say it’s an incredibly embarrassing moment for Nora and we never wanna see Tim Allen looking like an orange again. 

A scene that sticks out to me the most is when Nora has a fight for the last Hickory Honey Ham – Blair’s favourite. The hilarious scene shows Nora fighting an old woman in the supermarket for the last ham (which she loses) but she was still determined to get it. Nora then delivers one of the best lines when bribing a young couple with a baby at the checkouts: “You know, it’s never too early to start thinking about putting away a little something for your child’s college education.” whilst holding her checkback. It works but in true Christmas movie fashion it all goes wrong – she drops it in the parking lot and a truck runs over it. All of that hard work for nothing.

The scene was seen as out of this world in 2004 but nowadays due to the pandemic it’s normal in a way. We’ve all heard of stories of people fighting for the last pack toilet roll and working in a supermarket, I’ve seen it first hand. It’s ironic in a way watching this scene nowadays, knowing that it would be so random for someone to fight over some ham but now it is ‘normal’ in a way.

Another fantastic scene is probably the scene that gives you the most second hand embarrassment – when Blair finally arrives home. Imagine bringing your fiance home for the first time and you have a police escort from the neighbourhoods ‘only two police officers’ Officer Salino (Cheech Marin) and Officer Treen (Jake Busey). They delay the ride so much that they pick up a criminal on the way past but eventually they make it – the second hand embarrassment is incredible.

The real mystery throughout the film is Marty (Austin Pendleton). Who on earth is Marty? All we know is that he sells umbrellas in a rather forced way but he seems to know everything about everyone but nobody has a clue who he is. But he is so polite so he does get an invite to the ‘famous’ Christmas Eve party and it is finally revealed who he is – I won’t spoil it, don’t worry. 

This film is one of those films that is that bad, it is good – it’s filled with so many iconic moments. Do you think the Kranks were the innocent ones in all of this and their neighbours were the monsters? Or vice versa? It is definitely a must watch this year, even if it is ridiculously cringy. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Words by Izzy Hawksworth.

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