Director Howard is so mesmerized by the flames, he squirts formulaic lighter fluid over everything. A conflagration of hyped-up movie cliches, courtesy of George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic special effects shop, scalds your face.
It would be one thing if Christmas With the Kranks were a satire on the assaultive, bullying nature of contemporary Christmas celebration in this country, but it's not. It's an ugly glorification of it.
The film degenerates into an overly simplistic satire -- with moon-worshiping, Guatemala-visiting, lesbian aborters on one side, and fetally obsessive, meat-eating, gun-toting Jesus worshipers on the other.