Even Fruitcake More Enjoyable Than Deck the Halls
- Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2006 23 Nov
DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: November 22, 2006
Rating: PG (for some crude/suggestive humor, language )
Run Time: 90 min.
Director: John Whitesell
Actors: Matthew Broderick, Danny DeVito, Kristin Davis, Kristin Chenoweth, Jorge Garcia, Sabrina Aldridge, Kelly Aldridge,
When it comes to Christmas movies, there's usually no middle ground. They’re either really good (It’s a Wonderful Life, the animated version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or even Will Ferrell’s Elf) or excruciatingly bad (Jingle All the Way, the Jim Carrey remake of How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Ben Affleck’s embarrassing Surviving Christmas. ).
And unfortunately the Danny DeVito/Matthew Broderick flick falls into that latter category as its hare-brained premise is neither heartwarming, particularly original, or funny – three essential components for a holiday comedy. To provide further insight into just how horrible Deck the Halls is, let’s just say that it almost makes Chevy Chase’s campy Christmas Vacation or Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder BB gun in A Christmas Story seem Oscar-worthy in comparison.
Sad, isn’t it?
For anyone who’s still curious, Deck the Halls is the story of a neighborhood rivalry that goes waaaay too far. Matthew Broderick plays Steve Finch, a straight-laced, sweater-sporting optometrist with a pretty wife Kelly (an underused Kristin Davis), a great house in the ‘burbs and a love for the holidays so grand that’s he’s known as “The Christmas Guy.”
In fact, everything’s almost perfect in Steve’s anal-retentive existence as he prepares for the upcoming holiday season. Well, until sleazy car salesman Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito), his chirpy wife Tia (Kristin Chenoweth) and their Lolita-esque twin daughters (Sabrina and Kelly Aldridge) move in next door. Then much to Steve’s chagrin, Buddy decides that in his search for greater meaning in life, he’s going to create a light display so lavish (or garish, depending on your perspective) that it can be seen from space.
Of course, this is where the comedy part of the movie is supposed to kick in. But instead of funny, all we get is a bunch of bad dialogue like “Around here, I’m the Christmas guy, you can take Toe-Jam Day!”
With a plot so paper thin and downright silly, it sort of makes one wonder who in Hollywood would greenlight such a ridiculous vehicle for a talented group of actors (or why they’d accept the roles in the first place, but that might have something to do with money, right?).
On a grander scale, ultimately it’s the takeaway value that’s the most underwhelming. Instead of further exploring the idea that true happiness in life doesn’t come from having the best of anything (whether it’s Christmas decorations, a car, clothes, you get the idea), there’s a hackneyed message on how Christmas could definitely use some new technological updates, whether it’s Buddy’s fancy projection lights or Christmas carols illuminated with the glow of an open cell phone.
And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with new yuletide customs or being open to a new way of doing things, it’s just another instance of where Deck the Halls falls flat in the face of much better viewing options.
AUDIENCE: Older children and up
- Language/Profanity: An assortment of mild expletives, including God’s name being taken in vain.
- Sex/Nudity: None, although there’s sexual innuendos and crude humor (involving bodily functions) aplenty. There’s also a scene with Santa’s sexy dancers who turn out to be Steve and Buddy’s daughters.
- Violence: Mostly of the comic variety.