A Tim Allen Christmas Classic Is Streaming For Free Right Now
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis' Christmas with the Kranks is number three on the free streaming service, Freevee.
Star of The Santa Clause, Tim Allen has another Christmas classic on his resume, the 2004 Holiday hit, Christmas with the Kranks, which is currently the number 3 streaming movie on Freevee. According to tracking site FlixPatrol, Christmas with the Kranks has also been popular on other services internationally, climbing the UK and Ireland Netflix charts a little bit each day as we get closer to Christmas. The newfound interest in the Christmas comedy is unexpected given the poor critical reception of the film.
In 2004, Tim Allen was between major TV roles, with Home Improvement behind him and Last Man Standing not debuting until seven years later. The stand-up comic was in a career dry spell, with no movies coming out in either 2003 or 2005. On paper, Christmas with the Kranks should have been a home run; based on a popular John Grisham story, Skipping Christmas, co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis and written by Home Alone scribe Chris Columbus, the ingredients for a hit are all there.
Tim Allen plays Luther Krank and Jamie Lee Curtis plays his wife Nora, who are about to have their first Christmas alone after their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) leaves for a Peace Corps mission. Instead of celebrating the holiday, the Kranks decide to take a Caribbean cruise instead, which unknowingly angers their neighbors. Played by comic legend Dan Aykroyd and award-winning actor M. Emmet Walsh, the neighbors successfully convince the Kranks to get into the holiday spirit, whether they want to or not, when their daughter’s last-minute call that she’s coming home sets off a frantic effort to decorate for Christmas.
Director Joe Roth had received an advance copy of Grisham’s book, which led to the rare occurrence of a movie being developed before the book it was adapted from was even released. Soon after purchasing the rights, Roth successfully cast Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, getting the final pieces in place to film Christmas with the Kranks. The rapid pre-production of the film, with everything going right, culminated in an amazing three-month build to create the entire neighborhood on an empty parking lot.
While making the film was smooth, fast, and efficient, all the things a director wants leading up to release, once the public saw the film, is when the trouble started. Tim Allen’s previous Christmas movies, the first two Santa Clause films, were hits and hailed as instant classics. Christmas with the Kranks was referenced as an example of Hollywood enforcing conformity, a joyless film, and a crass cash-in attempt.
Over the years, the audience reception has not been much better, with Rotten Tomatoes scoring the film with a 5% fresh from critics and a 38% from the public. Not only is this Tim Allen’s worst-performing Christmas movie, but it is the second-worst Christmas movie, of all time, on Rotten Tomatoes. As often happens with movies, particularly Christmas films, as the years go by traditions start to form, even if ironically, around watching a movie each year to celebrate a holiday, and while that is not the worst idea of all time, it can result in Christmas with the Kranks getting a second chance at acceptance.