Plot: What’s it about?
The holiday season has always special for the Krank household, as well as their neighbors, as the entire community celebrates. But this year, Luther Krank (Tim Allen) and his wife Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) will break the tradition and skip the holidays. The couple has just sent their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) off into the real world, on a trip that will have away from home for the holidays. So Luther and Nora plan to take a cruise over the break, while boycotting holiday parties and events. This has their neighbors up in arms, as everyone is disappointed in their behavior. But the Kranks don’t give in and continue on with their plan, although some bumps do happen that lessen the excitement. When Blair calls to tell them she is engaged and coming home in time for Christmas however, can the Kranks pull off a last minute holiday miracle?
Christmas with the Kranks is awful. The source book, John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas is a solid read, but as usual, Hollywood has botched an adaptation. You can tell the filmmakers wanted to make the next National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but this doesn’t even come close. All the elements are here, family woes, a wild atmosphere, and all kinds of stress related yelling, but what Christmas with the Kranks lacks is the genuine emotion, as it has none. The plot tries to be sincere, but comes off as hollow, thanks to more focus on physical pratfalls, as opposed to heart and emotion. Tim Allen is passable, but he can only do so much here, while Jamie Lee Curtis is terrible as his overreacting, shrill wife. I wanted to like this movie, because I enjoyed the book, but I was let down in all respects. I can only recommend this as a rental, but even then, only if you’ve already watched all the usual suspects this holiday season.
Video: How does it look?
Christmas with the Kranks is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a full frame version also included on this dual layer disc. This is a great visual treatment from Sony, as the print is very clean and the image has a lot of depth. The film’s vibrant color scheme is well presented, with bright and bold hues throughout, while flesh tones remain natural at all times. The black levels are sharp and provide excellent contrast, so no detail is lost in this one. As I said, this is just a superb visual effort from Sony, who usually impress with their new release transfers.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack here is more than solid, but lacks the punch and presence I expected it to possess. The music sounds good, with ample depth, but aside from that, the surround presence is minimal. The rear channels spark in from time to time, but not too often and when they do, the result isn’t too memorable. This does not ruin the experience, but with such a fun, vibrant movie, I think a more active soundtrack would add to the entertainment. The dialogue is pretty smooth however, with no muffled or distorted vocals in the slightest. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, French, Chinese, and Thai, so a lot of bases are covered here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.