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Movie Review: Christmas With the Kranks

December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas everybody. One of my family’s Christmas traditions is to play Christmas movies all day. All the classics are there – Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged – but there’s usually one or two new entries that I’d never seen before. Today, for the first time, I witnessed a cinematic masterpiece known as Christmas With the Kranks.

Have you ever seen it? You should. It’s amazing. It has holiday cheer, Christmas hijinks, and best of all, it captures the essence of Christmas better than any film I’ve ever seen.

It starts off with a couple, the Kranks, who are fed up with Christmas. Especially Luther (Tim Allen). It’s been their Christmas tradition to throw a big party for all their friends on Christmas Eve with all the Christmas trimmings. It’s a special moment between Luther’s wife Nora (Jamie-Lee Curtis) and their daughter. When the daughter joins the Peace Corps, they decide to say, “Fuck Christmas, let’s go to the Carribbean for ten days.” They pack, the neighbors get pissed that they’re not decorating, and they tell the neighbors to suck it. On Christmas Eve, they hear that their daughter is coming home that night with a guy she wants to marry, so they have to rush at the last second to put together a Christmas party with the help of all their goofy neighbors. Dan Aykroyd is involved.

That sounds like a simple enough set up, but I’m going to spoil it for you a little bit. They get the party set up. The daughter comes home and is amazed.

This is where it gets good.

Tim Allen grabs a mic and stops the party. He says that no one there has ever really thought about the true meaning of Christmas. All they worry about is lights, and trees, and cake (this part is especially powerful, as he picks up a Yule Log cake and chucks it square at Cheech Marin. By the way, Cheech Marin is in this). He says that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and “that’s what I’m going to fucking show you right now.” He goes out to the car, and returns with a pregnant lady in a hospital gown, her scared husband, and a gun. “We are going to watch these guys give birth!” he bellows, shooting two shots in the air.

But that’s not all. He brings in a donkey, a goat, two cows, a dog, and a couple of parakeets. Next is three homeless guys, wearing Burger King crowns. It dawns on everyone what he’s doing: recreating the Nativity scene.

As Jamie Lee Curtis hurriedly rushes to get blankets for the expecting mother, Tim Allen wails her across the face. “No, you whoring dolt!” he yells. “It’s got to be like the real birth of Jesus!” He goes out to the car again and brings back a bag of fertilizer. He pours it on the ground. “You’re going to give birth on this shit!”

At this point the husband steps up. “Yo, dawg, I ain’t letting my wife deliver the baby on some shit. That’s as unsanitary as it gets.”

“Oh yeah?” says Tim Allen, with a crazy gleam in his eye. “Well, that’s the way that Jesus did it. So that’s the way Mary here is going to do it.”

Dan Aykroyd steps forward. “Ray Stantz here,” he says. “Just wanted to clarify something: how is watching this young lady give birth going to teach us about Jesus? Other than the fact that there will be a baby, and some barnyard animals hanging out, this is nothing like the first Christmas.”

Allen squints at him. “You think you’re some kind of tough guy? Why don’t you come get a sniff of my right hook, you pussy?”

Now the fight begins. Dan Aykroyd rushes Tim Allen and they tussle on the ground for the gun. As this is happening, the mom goes into labor on the couch. In the fight, Aykroyd rips off Allen’s shirt revealing cash strapped to his body. “I robbed a bank to finance this exorbitant Nativity recreation!” yells Allen as he attempts to gouge Aykroyd’s eye. Allen regains control of the gun, and pops Aykroyd in the leg.

Meanwhile, the mom is deep into the labor. She’s calling the father a motherfucker for letting this happen and begging someone for some drugs. Luckily, Cheech Marin has some weed on him, so he lets her smoke it. It doesn’t really work, but he ends up getting baked. Soon after, an ambulance with police show up. The EMTs help the mom give birth, and the baby is cool.

Now there’s a stand-off with the police and Tim Allen, who has a gun to his wife’s face. “I’m walking out of here with this money, or my wife gets it!” he yells. The cops urge him to put the gun down. As he tries to slip out the back door, he slips in some fertilizer. This proves to be a true Christmas miracle, as Jamie Lee darts away from him, and the cops unload on Allen like he’s Sonny at the tollbooth. The final scene is of Tim Allen’s mangled up body, while the baby’s father holds up the kid and says, “He’s black, just like Jesus! I say we name him AlBorland, all one word, just to stick it to this sick motherfucker!” He kicks Tim Allen, and everyone laughs, except for his family, which is sobbing uncontrollably.

That’s pretty much the end. Oh, and don’t worry about Dan Aykroyd’s character: it was only a flesh wound.

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