Many of Grisham’s readers, including myself, have questioned the story’s ending, which has the Kranks inexplicably willing to ditch their plans in order to please their daughter.  What is clear is that Grisham meant the tale as a caution against the excesses we are all prone to during the holidays, as well as the perils of conformity.  What is unclear is why he chose to have everyone completely reverse course, then do exactly what they (and we) have come to despise.  Did the author, who is a Christian, mean to say that what really counts is friendship and family, even amidst the excesses, as well as forgiving those friends, even when they have acted heinously?  Perhaps – but I have a different take. 

I think Grisham may be showing us, in yet another way, how easy it is to give in to the false trappings of Christmas, even when we have done everything in our power to escape them.  I see it as yet another caution – an even stronger one than the rest of the story – against the lure of the canned merriment we call Christmas.  As a writer, I would have ended the story differently.  However, I must acknowledge that it works, and perhaps even better onscreen than it does in the book.  So the real message, it would seem, comes when Luther gives up his cruise tickets and gives them to his neighbor, who is dying of cancer. 

For, isn’t that what Jesus does for us?  He comes, unexpectedly and even reluctantly (for a brief moment, when He begged the Father to release him from the task), in the midst of the death that surrounds us, to give us a beautiful, valuable gift we could never purchase or acquire for ourselves.  And because of it, we are forever changed – but only if we accept.

So, despite the schlock, I like this film, because it embodies what Christmas really means, and contrasts it with the very things that keep us from celebrating the Christ Mass.  And that, these days, is as rare as reindeer.  Bravo, Revolution Studios.

AUDIENCE:  All ages.

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT:

  • Drugs/Alcohol Content:  Average.  Characters drink wine during dinner in several scenes.  One scene in a liquor store where character buys a dozen or so bottles of wine and liquor for a holiday party.  At holiday party, many people arrive carrying bottles of wine and champagne, and others are seen in background with people drinking.  Main character pretends to “smoke” large cinnamon sticks like marijuana.
  • Language/Profanity:   Very Mild.  Two mild obscenities, one of which is rebuked by another character. One mild profanity (“What in God’s name.”)
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Mild.  Wife gets excited when husband talks about a surprise, unbuttons pants offscreen and says, “But it’s not Saturday night!” only to realize he is talking about something else.
  • Violence:   Lots of physical comedy that results in falls and “accidents” where no one is hurt.  Main character has serious fall from roof of house but is stopped by rope and left dangling.  Thief runs from police, is tackled then slammed against car window.  Same thief is later hit by a man dressed as Santa Claus wielding an umbrella.