Hollywood Product January 01 1904

Christmas With The Kranks

Genre: Holiday comedy

Opens: Now playing

The pitch: Middle-aged couple Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) decide to skip Christmas when their only child, Blair (Julie Gonzalo), leaves to join the Peace Corps in Peru. While the Kranks plan for a Caribbean cruise, the neighbors harass them for their humbug attitudes, and then, of course, Blair calls to say she's coming home after all.

Money shots: Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) chases down Nora in her car, only to get his gloves caught in her power windows. Luther begrudgingly drags a Frosty the Snowman decoration on to his roof using a noose.

Flesh factor: At a tanning salon, Luther appears in a Speedo and Nora sports a teeny, weeny yellow bikini. But it's not the hard-bodied Curtis that danced in a bra and thong for Trues Lies, but a soft-tummied, kinda flabby body that Nora — an older, comfortable housewife — would be more likely to have.

Pop references: Luther evokes a "Miami Vice" vibe when he appears in white suit, blue T-shirt, orange tan and a face numbed by Botox.

Fashion statement: With the exception of Luther, everyone dons tragically suburban holiday gear from reindeer sweaters to oversized wreath broaches. Nora prefers a red knit vest adorned with candy canes and wreaths to accessorize her vast wardrobe of turtlenecks. The entire Frohmeyer clan wears red, green and clashing tartans.

Product placement: Nora reads Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul in bed and picks up a Bailey's Irish Creme at the liquor store. And every time Luther gets out of the car, the camera identifies his ride as a Toyota Camry.

Better than the book?: Uh, no. Based on John Grisham's Skipping Christmas, the movie could gain some depth by revealing characters' motivations the way the book does instead of using dialogue simply as a break between slapstick bits.

The bottom line: This is the cinematic equivalent to giving your loved ones a lump of coal.

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