A Very Tim Allen Christmas



Tim Allen, pictured here in “The Santa Clause,” brings joy and misery in three different Christmas movies.

Comedian Tim Allen is no stranger to Christmas. In fact, he’s been in quite a few Christmas movies over the years. So this December, I decided to give myself a very Tim Allen Christmas and watched three Christmas movies starring Tim Allen in one night.

(Note: I am a trained professional. Do not attempt to watch more than one Tim Allen Christmas movie at a time by yourself or you risk permanent brain damage.)

The Santa Clause (1994) – Rated PG

“The Santa Clause” is just one of those movies. Everybody knows what it’s about, but you don’t seem to remember how insane the movie actually is until you’re watching it.  The first act, while pretty crazy, feels like a normal Christmas comedy. After Scott Calvin ( Allen) accidentally kills Santa Claus, he falls victim to the Santa “Clause,” which states that whoever kills Santa must take Santa’s place. So Calvin and his son spend the night delivering presents to children, through a series of very ‘90s hijinks. 

Soon Calvin learns that being Santa is a permanent job. Here’s where the movie starts to get insane. Over a period of months, Tim Allen physically transforms into jolly old Saint Nick. He inexplicably gains weight, he knows who’s naughty and who’s nice, and children line up to sit on his lap. Unfortunately, this causes him to lose visitation rights to his child, who desperately supports his father’s Santa Claus adventures. 

So naturally, in a frenzy of ludicrous Christmas spirit, the movie reaches its climax with the police hunting down and arresting Santa Claus, in front of dozens of children, for allegedly kidnapping his child. Of course, in the next scene he is rescued by an elite strike force of E.L.F.S (Effective Liberating Flight Squad) from the north pole. I’d hate to be the officer who had to explain to the chief that a couple of flying kids overpowered a cop and freed a man suspected of kidnapping. 

Despite being a fairly mediocre movie, “The Santa Clause” is a Tim Allen Christmas classic, especially if you’re in the mood for an eccentric Christmas movie with some of the most unnatural looking CGI reindeer you’ve ever seen.

Christmas with the Kranks (2004) – Rated PG

Easily the best movie on this list, “Christmas with the Kranks” boldy asks what nobody else has the courage to: “What would happen if Tim Allen didn’t like christmas?” The answer comes in the form of an entire town aggressively and violently harassing Luther Krank (Allen) and his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) into learning the true meaning of Christmas: big parties and pretty decorations. 

“Christmas with the Kranks” is actually pretty funny, if you can turn your brain off and just let yourself enjoy it. It has the benefit of a delightful cast, held together by Dan Aykroyd and our beloved Allen. The second act falls a little flat and the movie drags out its ending for what seems like eternity, but for the most part, it’s worth it. 

Critics had a field day tearing “Christmas with the Kranks” to shreds, criticizing its lackluster plot, inconsistent theme, and over-the-top slapstick comedy, but they miss the point. “Christmas with the Kranks” isn’t supposed to be a good movie. It’s supposed to be a Tim Allen movie. If you want to see Allen hiss at a cat, get a Botox treatment and fall off a roof, you’ve come to the right place.

El Camino Christmas (2017) – Rated TV-MA

In the next film on my Tim Allen quest, Allen leaves the beloved Christmas family comedy genre and enters the Christmas dark comedy/gritty crime-drama genre, a genre this movie both invented and ruined. 

“El Camino Christmas” tells the story of Eric Roth (Luke Grimes), who goes looking for his father in a small town. Roth ends up barricaded inside a gas station with five hostages, including Allen. Don’t ask me how they end up there; the plot makes absolutely no sense. Beyond the awful writing, it’s hard to imagine a less appealing cast for a Christmas movie. Vincent D’Onofrio plays a dirty cop with a drinking problem, Dax Sheppard plays his idiot partner, and Emilio Rivera is the owner of the gas station who clearly gets killed only to be resurrected with an unearned happy ending in the final scenes. There are also two weird subplots about a pregnant reporter and mute kid, which seem like they are going to be important but really aren’t.

Allen and company shoot, swear and drink their way through a grueling one hour and 29 minutes. Despite the amount of confusing violence this movie shoves down our throats, everyone somehow gets a happy ending. The kid learns to speak, the reporter has her baby, Eric ends up with the girl and Allen frees himself from having to see the end of the worst Christmas movie ever by purposefully getting killed by the cops. 

There is no reason anybody should ever watch this movie. Guns were fired multiple times throughout this movie but the only lasting damage was to the spirit of Christmas. I will never forgive Tim Allen for participating in this movie.