Ok, going in, I knew it would be a terrible movie. When Christmas With The Kranks came out in the movie theater, it was met with terrible reviews from critics, and its imdb.com rating is a measley 4.7 with over 7,000 votes. So why did I want to watch it? Two reasons – I wanted to watch a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve, and I had read Surviving Christmas – one of the rare John Grisham books that isn’t legal fiction, “Surviving Christmas” months ago – I always like to see books come to life on the screen. Well, ok, not always… because Christmas With The Kranks was simply awful – even worse than I thought.
The story is about a couple of empty-nesters who decide to skip Christmas since their daughter will be out of town. They plan to take a tropical cruise and go about getting fake tans and whatnot to prepare for their unconventional holiday celebration. Not such a big deal, you’d think. Except that the Krank’s live on a street that is famous for their Christmas decorations. Every house is expected to put a Frosty the Snowman decoration on their roof every year, and so when the Kranks are preparing to leave town without doing so, the neighborhood is abuzz. That’s it.
The novel was alright; it was a fun little story, and although it wasn’t one of the best books, I did get all the way through it. But I can’t say the same about the movie. We turned it off in the middle and I can’t say I missed the rest. My main problem with it was the casting of Tim Allen as Luther Krank. While reading the book, I kept picturing Luther as a crabby senior citizen, but Tim Allen made Luther more angry than crabby. In the novel, John Grisham does a nice job setting scene of a small, close-knit community, but all that is lost in the movie, especially with Tim Allen involved. I was shocked to read on imdb.com that John Grisham has casting approval rights for movies based on his novels. Maybe that was established because of Christmas With The Kranks. Well anyway, that’s enough time wasted on this movie. From what I hear, it’s not the best example of a John Grisham book, but worth a try, I suppose, if you have lots of spare time and like to read. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend the movie to anyone.