The movie, “Christmas with the Kranks”, directed by Joe Roth is based on the book, Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham. In both the movie and the book Luther and Nora Krank watch their only daughter Blair Krank join the Peace Corps. They feel lost without her and decide not to spend Christmas moping around but to go on a cruise and save their money by not buying their usual Christmas items. On Christmas Eve Luther and Nora receive a surprising phone call from Blair saying that she will be home for Christmas and is bringing her new fiancée with her. In a state of panic Luther and Nora try to decorate their home and throw a Christmas party together in just 12 hours. Although their neighbors are mad that the Kranks had intended to skip Christmas, they love Blair and believe that a community sticks together. They all work as one to decorate and organize the best Christmas party for Blair. Although the plots are the same there are many differences within the stories.
John Grisham begins the book with Luther and Nora Krank at the airport saying goodbye to their only daughter Blair; however, the movie starts with Luther and Nora sitting on their bed looking troubled when Luther says that they should get ready to take Blair to the airport. The significance is that in the movie you tells the sadness in Nora and Luther by their facial expressions but in the book it describes the airport and everything that’s going on around them giving a sense of sadness without being able to see their facial expressions.
After they drop off Blair at the airport, Nora wants to get some chocolate. The book describes the shops, the crowds, and a variety of people along with the Santa’s who are on every corner when Luther is walking down the street to the store. In the movie, however, it just shows Luther walking in and out of the chocolate store and Luther sees only one Santa who is selling umbrellas in front of the store. The significance of this is that in the movie you are able to see the decorations of one store and just one Santa and tell that Christmas is almost here but in the book the author has left it all up to the reader’s imagination to see the streets and the people and the hustle for Christmas.
In the book Luther discovers the trip through a travel agency that is located in the same building as his work; however, in the movie Luther discovers the trip when he is running to get chocolate for Nora in the pouring rain. Tons of water falls on Luther and he looks over to see a poster of a couple holding hands while running along a beach. The significance in this is that in the movie Luther gets completely drenched and you could see how frustrated he becomes. He looks over and sees the tropical poster almost as though it is a sign that he should go on the cruise because it would be much better than staying at home and dealing with the Christmas chaos.
Luther goes on a walk after he tells Nora that he has booked the trip when he sees families bickering over Christmas things. This gives Luther a good feeling about going away for Christmas and not having to deal with the hassle that is involved with Christmas. Although this is included in the book, the scene is left out of the movie because the viewer already has a feeling that Luther is happy he is leaving just because of the way he acts.
In the book Nora is at lunch with her two friends, Merry and Candi, when she receives a phone call from Aubi, who usually makes her Christmas party invitations. Nora says, “We won’t be needing them this year”. Her friends ask her what she doesn’t need this year and she tells them that they are simply skipping Christmas. Candi says she is jealous because her husband would never take her on a cruise. In the movie when Nora and her friends are at lunch Aubi comes up to them and asks why she doesn’t want to buy invitations and Nora says she is skipping Christmas. Everyone becomes silent in the restaurant and stare at her in disbelief. Her friends are now mad at her because she is skipping Christmas. The significance in this is that if Nora would have just been on the phone with Aubi in the movie then the audience would not have been able to hear what Aubi says and it would not be as clear to the viewers. In addition, the other diners in the restaurant probably would not have had the same reaction.
Luther talks to Yank, a colleague, in the book about his decision to go on a cruise for Christmas. Yank says he admires Luther for skipping Christmas and he says he would go with his wife but he would probably end up throwing her off the ship. This scene is not in the movie. This is important because the book describes characters like Yank who support the Kranks decision in skipping Christmas and characters who oppose skipping Christmas while the movie only depicts characters who oppose skipping Christmas.
In the book Luther drives a Lexus and Nora drives an Audi. In the movie Luther drives a champagne colored foreign car while Nora drives a red station wagon. In the book they drive new cars, but in the movie they drive older cars. While watching the movie it seems as though Luther and Nora do not have money for luxury items; however, in the book it seems as though they are upper-middle class because of their luxurious cars.
In the book Nora receives a letter from Blair saying that she is fine and describes her surroundings and writes that the Peruvian children whom she is teaching do not even know about Christmas. Because of this Blair writes that she probably won’t even realize when it is Christmas. This letter was left out in the movie; however, when Nora asks Luther if Blair will miss Christmas he replies by saying that she won’t notice because she is surrounded by people in the rainforest who worship trees, bark, and frogs. This omission is important because the letter tells how special the children are to her and how unimportant materialistic things are to these people and now to her.
Another scene that is altered in the movie is the one in which Nora and Luther go out one night to dinner at an Irish pub and a movie. When they arrive at the movie they notice how empty the movie theater is and realize that it must be because everyone else is Christmas shopping and don’t have time to go to a movie. In the movie after they finish eating dinner at the Irish pub, they go to the tanning bed but never go to the movie. The difference in this shows that in the movie they are spending time getting ready for their Christmas cruise while in the book they are making time to spend together.
In the book the police come to their home to sell calendars and Luther tells them he doesn’t want one but he will give them one hundred dollars in the spring for the uniforms for the orphan’s softball team that the police sponsor. In the movie Luther simply says “no” to the calendars that the police are selling and does not offer to give money for their softball team. The significance of this is that in the movie Luther is more like Scrooge and in the book he is more generous.
When Blair and her fiancée arrive at the airport, the book describes the sign that the police are holding as saying “Blair and Enrique” but in the movie the sign says “Blair and N. Reeky”. The significance of this is that it adds humor to the movie while the book is being more serious. The spelling mistake made by the officers in the movie portrays the officers as being less intelligent in the movie than in the book.
The movie, “Christmas with the Kranks”, directed by Joe Roth is based on the book, Skipping Christmas, by John Grishman. Although the overall plot is the same there are many differences within the story line. The movie puts more emphasis on the pressure that the neighbors are putting on the Kranks to put out their Christmas decorations. The book, however, puts more emphasis on the Kranks’ preparation for their trip. Although there are differences between the two, both the book and the movie are quite enjoyable.