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Sweet and Sentimental Christmas Movie
on November 27, 2004
Being a big fan of Christmas-themed movies and having read the John Grisham novel on which this was based, I was definitely looking forward to this movie. Therefore, despite Ebert's bad review, I convinced my family to see it after our Thanksgiving dinner. With two kids in college now, there aren't many chances for us to all go to a movie together. And maybe there's another reason for that----generational gap in taste. My husband and I enjoyed this alot, while our two offspring agreed it was probably the worst movie they had ever seen. There you have it, mixed reviews.
While it's true there is no earth-shaking revelation in this one (unless you count a reaffirmation of the true meaning of Christmas), no high-tech wizardry, no spectacular chase scenes, no lusty sex or mind-numbing profanity, I found this a most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. What it did have was a look at the importance of family, friends, and community. What it did have was honest laughter and the realization that only an idiot would try to forego the most important holiday of all. The fact that the neighborhood looked more like one from 1954 instead of 2004 only added to the enjoyment for me. After all, nostalgia is a large part of the holiday, right?
For those unfamiliar with the story, Luther Krank (Tim Allen) is upset to realize that the cost of Christmas is about $6,000. A bit sad since his only child is now in the Peace Corps and will not be home for Christmas, he convinces his wife Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) that it would be foolish to spend all that money on decorations, donations, gifts, and their annual Christmas Eve bash. For less money, they could take a Caribbean cruise and enjoy life in the islands. Skipping Christmas sounds, at first, like a brilliant idea. But the neighbors won't allow it. Led by neighborhood watchdog Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd), they insist on upholding traditions (like putting a giant Frosty on every rooftop) and do not take at all kindly to the Kranks' breaking with the wishes of the neighborhood. The twist comes at the last minute when the daughter decides she can't miss the Christmas celebrations she has always loved and flies in from Peru with her fiance. How will the Kranks explain the darkened house, no tree, no Frosty, and the fact they are sailing at noon?
While it is not the greatest Christmas movie I've ever seen, I did enjoy this one and recommend it for those not jaded by recent Hollywood offerings. If you like good clean movies that leave you smiling, this one's for you.