November 10, 2005

Christmas With The Kranks (2004)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

99 mins. · PG
16x9 · 2.40:1

Format
DVD

Audio
English - DD 5.1
French - DD 5.1

Subtitles
English, French, Chinese, Thai

Extras
Selection Of Previews

Starring
Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, M. Emmet Walsh, Cheech Marin, Julie Gonzalo

Review by
Murray Wasylnuk


Rating



(2004)

Based on John Grisham's "Skipping Christmas", "Christmas with the Kranks" is a very silly film that is set in a neighborhood that is a little too close nit for some and just down right obtrusive for others. A neighborhood where everyone knows everybody's business and overachieving parents strive for that perfect Christmas tree and just the right amount of lights adorning the rooftop.

Enter Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) Krank. After their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) heads off to work in the Peace Corps and frustrated with the poor rainy weather, Luther decides that they should boycott Christmas altogether and take a cruise to a sunny locale. Of course, this does not go over well with the crazed neighborhood, especially Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd), a slightly holiday-obsessed resident. With the Kranks avoiding their neighbor's disappointment over their decision and counting the days until their tropical getaway, a last minute phone call from Blair changes the scope of their plan, informing her parents that she is coming home for a family Christmas, with new boyfriend in tow, placing the Kranks in an eleventh hour attempt to celebrate Christmas after all!

Sony Home Entertainment delivers the previously delayed "Christmas With The Kranks" on DVD in a very mediocre fashion. The disc offers up your choice of either a 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen or 1.33:1 full screen presentation. Filled with its share of problematic areas, this transfer suffers from weak color saturation and flesh tones that range from a pinkish hue to a gruesome yellow glow; the color palette wins no points here. Blacks are acceptable at times, but overall levels display more of a dark gray tone rather than a nice rich depth. The print is free from visible dust and dirt particles, but the overall presentation displays an unacceptable amount of grain, aliasing and even moiré! Quite the poor exhibition I must say.

The soundtrack comes in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that basically utilizes the front soundstage with minimal participation from the surround channels. Bass has a surprisingly good presence, which helps to keep vocals natural throughout. You don't really expect to get a killer soundtrack with this type of film, so with that in mind, this sound presentation won't really disappoint.

The only available extra on this DVD is a selection of out-dated previews, which further leads me to the conclusion that this DVD was prepared last year while still in its 2004 theatrical run, and then just sat around waiting for the following Christmas season.

If you can get past the annoying squeals and screams with over-the-top goofiness brought on by Jamie Lee Curtis, without the urge to just... well, never mind, you will actually witness a touchingly sweet ending that is fit for any Christmas film, but by this point it's too little too late!

With most people choosing to watch a few Christmas-themed films to put them in the festive mood this time of year, like the traditional mix of classics featuring "Miracle on 34th Street" or "It's A Wonderful Life" to more modern fare like "Scrooged", there is simply no need to worry about adding "Christmas with the Kranks" to an already full viewing roster, as this film is simply not worth your time or effort.




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