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Kranking up a tired formula.

Christmas with the kranks (pg, 98mins) Comedy. Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, Julie Gonzalo, Jake Busey, Cheech Marin, M Emmet Walsh.

Might I suggest, or beg, a moratorium on films with Christmas in the title?

If Surviving Christmas wasn't bad enough, we also have to endure this shamelessly sentimental, lacklustre comedy that squanders the talents of its two stars.

When their daughter Blair (Gonzalo) leaves for Peru to serve in the Peace Corps, Luther Krank (Allen) and his wife Nora (Curtis) face their first Christmas alone.

Luther has a radical idea: to abandon cool Chicago and embark on a Caribbean cruise instead.

Nora is initially reluctant, especially since Christmas is her favourite time of year. However, she gradually warms to the idea and the Kranks prepare for sun, sea and relaxation.

When neighbours discover their plans, they are aghast. None more than local busybody Vic Frohmeyer (Aykroyd) who co-ordinates decorations along the street.

Vic does everything within his powers to persuade them to stay, to no avail.

Then, without warning, Blair calls to say she is coming home for Christmas after all... with a special someone in tow.

Based on the novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, Christmas With The Kranks is a madcap ensemble comedy that frequently falls flat.

Allen and Curtis work tirelessly to bring sparkle to the script but it is a losing battle.

It's too much sugar for my palate.

Swearing; No sex; Violence
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 3, 2004
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