A stuffed turkey that could have used a lot more time in the oven, Christmas With the Kranks stars Tim Allen (on autopilot) and Jamie Lee Curtis (somewhat game) as a suburban Chicago couple who, suffering from empty-nest syndrome, decide to take a Caribbean cruise rather than celebrate the holidays. This doesn't go over very well with the neighbors, who act like a pair of Muslim terrorists from outer space have just landed in their midst. Pressure is exerted, culminating when an army of Victorian-clad carolers lays siege to the Kranks' front yard, to no avail. Then daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo), a Peace Corps volunteer, announces she's coming home after all, which sends the Kranks into a frenzy of last-minute Yuletide preparations.
Alas, whether skipping Christmas or embracing it whole-hog, the movie's a disaster, a laugh-free zone. And for that you can blame Chris Columbus, who adapted John Grisham's best-seller. Or you can blame Grisham. Or director Joe Roth. Ultimately, it doesn't matter where you place the blame. There's plenty to go around.