As I write this, the time is 8:32 p.m. on Thursday, November 18, 2004, and I have just walked out on "Christmas With the Kranks" after roughly 45 minutes of mind-numbingly humorless, sit-com barrel-bottom idiocy.

An adaptation of John Grisham's "Skipping Christmas" that has been violently stripped of any semblance of humanity, this supposed comedy is about a couple called the Kranks (ha, ha, ha), played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, whose daughter won't be home for Christmas, so they choose to bow out of the festivities altogether and take a cruise. But apparently their choice amounts to a social offense of the first order in the bogus, plot-device suburbia where the movie takes place (during a transparently bogus winter). It even makes the newspaper.

Soon an army of neighbors are beating down their door like some Yuletide Gestapo, angrily demanding they put up their seasonal decorations while Curtis inexplicably cowers inside like a child.

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