CHRISTMAS is a season everybody enjoys. Think parties, merry gift giving, gay décor and that ever-festive fuzzy feeling we all love. Who, really, would turn their backs on those?

Probably, the Krank Family would.

Joe Roth’s holiday comedy Christmas with the Kranks is an adaptation of the John Grisham novel Skipping Christmas, a complete turn from the best selling legal thrillers The Runaway Jury, The Rainmaker, and A Time to Kill, all of which made it to the silver screen.

The Kranks are Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis), whose daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) will, for the first time, not spend Christmas with her family after 23 years. This devastates her parents. Seeking solace, the couple decide to go on a week-long cruise to the Caribbean exactly during the holidays.

It seems that no one can change the Kranks’ minds, not even their local priest or the group of kids who picket on their front yard to see Frosty the snowman atop their roof, a yearly spectacle the community enjoys.

But then their daughter calls and says she’d be home for the holidays after all. This stuns the couple, but the bigger surprise is that she is coming with her Peruvian boyfriend.

With just hours left, Luther and Nora rushes to create the Christmas that their daughter is used to having.

Amid all the feel-goodness of run-of-the-mill Christmas flicks sprouting come the “-ber” months, Christmas with the Kranks came like the Home Alones of years past—overflowing with cheesy slapstick humor. The entirety of the film was shot with 50 or so scenes of people sliding off snow-covered pavements, roofs, and other surfaces.

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The cinematography portrays your usual American movie—crisp and clear without complicating elements. The setting is very suburban, and fits the close-knit community the movie revolves on. Santa’s sleigh being replaced by a beat-up Beetle was a nice touch. It only proves that the movie can be both serious and playful at the same time.

The theme is very much bayanihan (camaraderie among neighbors), and the Filipino audience can really relate to it. Who would have expected suburban America to be a place where neighbors help each other? Maybe Christmas with the Kranks can show a side of America we did not know before.

Many of us forget what.

Christmas truly is. We are blinded by the expensive gifts, lavish parties, and what other people might say if we do not go all out on Christmas. Seeing Christmas with the Kranks will, perhaps, make us understand the real spirit of this season: giving, and of course, having fun. Florian C. Garcia

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