By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox.
Deck the Halls
Deck the Halls is the quintessential Hollywood Christmas movie. It’s Grumpy Old Christmas as two neighbors duel over holiday supremacy, with enough slapstick for even foreigners to get it and hints of tame sex jokes to make kids think they’re in on a real joke, even though they’re not.
Movie Review: Deck the Halls
Steve (Matthew Broderick) is the king of Christmas in his town, until Danny (Danny DeVito) moves in. With his outrageous plan to hang so many Christmas lights you can see his house from space, Danny totally overshadows Steve. Naturally, this means war, until the two alienate their respective families and learn the true meaning of Christmas.
They just threw so much at this movie that enough of it is funny. Some of it is just outrageous enough to push the film over the mediocrity boundary. Every scene plays like a skit, so if something bombs, you’re onto the next one. It’s rapid fire with little plot to get in the way.
Danny taking sarcasm literally seems fresh out of the improv school handbook, but duct taping antlers to a horse actually is pretty funny. The blatant set up of the runaway sleigh is painful, but the ridiculous light show Danny ultimately puts on is cleverly silly.
Matthew Broderick totally gets his Chevy Chase on. They may rip of movies like Planes, Trains and Automobiles with naked men lying together, but at least they do go completely overboard. It’s not like totally tame comedy. Some of it is really violent and destructive.
It looks like a backlot Christmas with fake snow, like they just threw this movie together this July to beat the rush. Oh, and Danny’s family’s last name is Hall. So it’s not just about decking the halls with boughs of holly, they actually are the Halls. And Steve wants to deck them.
But we suffer through something like this every year. Usually it’s so tame and generic that it’s offensive. This year, Santa Clause 3 already took those honors so Deck the Halls gets elevated to the best Christmas movie of the year. Until there’s another Bad Santa or Elf, this is the best we’ve got.