1 January 2006 | krorie
The first half of the movie is much better than the second half
The first part of this movie is filled with dark humor and makes a worthwhile statement: Most of those who celebrate Christmas do so because of the trappings, not because of the substance. The huge snowman that each family who lives on the block is supposed to inflate and put atop their house points to the frivolity of the holiday for the average observer. I haven't read John Grisham's book "Skipping Christmas" yet but the first half of the film seems to be pure Grisham. Luther Krank (Tim Allen) is something of an antihero declaring his own private little war on Christmas abuse, unlike Dickens' Scrooge who simply doesn't want to be bothered with the holiday because he's a miser and worships money. Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) on the other hand really wants the show of Christmas to impress the neighbors and not to rock the boat. Having her only child Blair Krank (Julie Gonzalo) away from home at Christmas for the first time kills her holiday spirit anyway. She is pictured as a doting mom who has spoiled her child rotten at the expense of her marriage and anything else not involving Blair. The second half of the film becomes a standard traditional type outing with Luther Krank being the scrooge-like selfish oaf who wants to spoil it all with his bah, humbug attitude. He comes around by giving the best gift of all to his neighbor whose wife is dying of cancer. In other words, the film cops out during the second half and with it the humor sours. A potentially funny holiday treat becomes just another lame copy of "It's a Wonderful Life."
There are some truly funny sequences during the first part of the movie. Note when Luther Krank waters down his sidewalk to make it slippery for the terrible carolers. Keep your eye on the neighbor's cat. The botox part is excruciatingly laughable with Tim Allen at his best. The tanning scene with the glorious Tom Poston as the Krank's priest is also hilarious. Too bad this level of humor was not maintained throughout.
The cast is well chosen with one exception. Cheech Marin is wasted in a thankless role. When given a chance he can be a funny man.