Deck The Halls

Deck The Halls


Reviewed by: Martin Gray

Tis The Season to be jolly, but I wasn't convinced Deck The Halls would deliver. After all, the distributors weren't having any press screenings, which hardly shows confidence in the product.

At first glance, this looks like a US remake - or, as they say these days, reimagining - of the Robson Green/Mark Benton Christmas Lights special aired on ITV a couple of years ago. But where that had two neighbours trying to outdo each other as regards whose house was best illuminated, this has Danny DeVito's Buddy Hall (geddit) alone lighting up the sky.

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Doing that, though, annoys neighbour Steve Finch - he's always given the local lead when it comes to organising the town's Christmas festivities, so he's not best pleased when new guy Buddy draws the friendly crowds. Playing Steve is the king of constipated looks, Matthew Broderick, and he's a great comedic foil for DeVito.

Playing their wives are Kristin Chenoweth and Kristin Davis (funnily enough, Sex And The City co-star of Broderick's wife, Sarah Jessica Parker) and they're just fine as nicey wifeys. They're wasted, to be honest, but it's nice to have them around. Making more of an impression are Alia Shawkat (so good as Arrested Development's Maeby) as Broderick's daughter and Sabrina and Kelly Aldridge as DeVito's twins, with their parts being a tad less bland.

The lights on DeVito's house are, to coin half a phrase, fantastic, though you really wouldn't want to live next door to them. It's not all lights, with some fun set pieces involving an ice race and pretendy reindeer.

One thing that would have been nice would be some reference to DeVito's height, or lack thereof. Not because I'm nasty, or shortist, but because any film in which he's at odds with someone should have some height gags - the guy's under five feet, there's no way an antagonist would not mention it.

This is no classic, it's formulaic stuff, but the quality performers prevent things getting to saccharine and preachy. If you're looking for some good family fun, it's well worth a try.

Reviewed on: 05 Dec 2006
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Two neighbours fall out over who is the local king of Christmas in forgettable but fun seasonal family comedy.
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Director: John Whitesell

Writer: Matt Cormer, Chris Ord, Don Rhymer

Starring: Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, Kristin Chenoweth, Alia Shawkat, Dylan Blue, Sabrina Aldridge, Kelly Aldridge, Jorge Garcia, Fred Armisen, Gillian Vigman

Year: 2006

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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