Directed by Joe Roth, starring Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, M Emmet Walsh, Elizabeth Franz, Julie Gonzalo, Tom Poston, Erik Per Sullivan, Cheech Marin, Austin Pendleton and Jake Busey.

Adapted from a rather uncharacteristic John Grisham novel, 'Christmas with the Kranks' is a very light-hearted take on the festive season.

Meet the Kranks... who think they can get away with skipping Christmas. They really should have known better.

Luther Krank (Allen) is not quite a modern-day Scrooge as he explains himself. It's not that he hates the holiday festivities; it's just that he has no reason to celebrate it and thus waste over $6,000. So he informs his wife Nora (Lee Curtis) that, seeing as their daughter Blair (Gonzalo) is away on a peace corps mission, he has decided that they should take a cruise and skip Christmas.

Their plans are all going swimmingly well until it's time to hang up the decorations, order the Christmas cards and join their neighbours in the holiday countdown. Something is amiss, their neighbours decide. The whole street is brightly lit except for the home of Luther and Nora Krank. Something must be done to dispel this crazy notion that Christmas can be avoided, and Vic Frohmeyer (Aykroyd) is just the man for the job.

As we follow the Kranks' half-hearted efforts to avoid the Christmas season, and the whole neighbourhood's overwhelming attempts to make them reconsider, we are treated to a mildly funny festive offering. 'Christmas with the Kranks' is not likely to set your world alight with bursts of side-splitting laughter. However, there are some hugely entertaining scenes in it, most notably when Luther decides that a fake tan is the way to go in anticipation of their holiday cruise.

Then there's the neighbour's kid from hell, Spike (Per Sullivan), Marty (Pendleton), the man that nobody knows and one mad dash to save Christmas. It's all very predictable but there are plenty of genuine excuses to laugh if you allow yourself to get engulfed in the Christmas spirit.

Linda McGee