A Bit Different

 

Deck the Halls (2006) Review 5
Director:John Whitesell,
Starring:Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, Kristin Chenoweth
Length:95 minutes
Rated:PG

 

At least it isn’t offensive. Most Christmas movies are for some reason (my last three official worst movies of the year were Christmas themed), and they seem to be getting worse and worse, well maybe it’s just me. “Deck the Halls” is a bit different.

God wants Buddy Hall’s (Danny DeVito) Christmas display to be seen from space. How do we know the will of the divinity so clearly? Well, because he uses his powers to ruin the life of his neighbor Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick). This is a comedy.

Now Steve is a mild mannered optometrist who loves his family and loves Christmas. In fact he’s the village’s official “winterfest coordinator,” and this time of year is something he lives for. His wife, Kelly (Kristin Davis), and two kids (Alia Shawkat and Dylan Blue) aren’t as enamored of the season as he is, but they’re okay with it. Everyone is, at least until Buddy, his wife Tia (Kristin Chenoweth) and their bootylicious daughters (Sabrina and Kelly Aldridge) show up. This is clearly a live action cartoon.

Steve is the Wile E. Coyote character and Buddy is the Roadrunner. The situations are basically predictable. We root for Wile E. because we sympathize with his plight and the situations are, for the most part at least, amusing slapstick. The real problem is the relationship between Buddy and Tia. Roadrunners are by their nature stick figures, and with an attempt at actual multidimensionality, some of the glamour is gone. It diminishes the fun, and while it leads to an inevitable happy ending, the thirst for revenge is gone.

This makes it less than a good movie, merely bleh. It should have been a glorious slapstick hatefest where the protagonist triumphs over evil. Better to get out the old copy of “A Christmas Story” and be done with it.