Xmas: 'Deck The Halls' (2006) Dir. John Whitesell
The Christmas spirit brings out the best and worst in a community, but none so than a competitive streak to decorate a house bright enough to be seen from space begins...
Local Massachusetts Christmas patriarch Steve Finch (Broderick) has a perfect family; wife Kelly (Davis) and two children all set to celebrate Christmas. However new neighbours arrive that immediately disrupts Steve’s idyllic scenario; Buddy Hall (DeVito), wife Tia (Chenoweth) and twin daughters.
After warming to many in town, Buddy decides to take on a mammoth task – to decorate his house with enough Christmas lights to be seen from space. This is met with great excitement in the community, but Steve is furious at “noise and light pollution” and many confrontations.
Their mini-war escalates, each trying to better and humiliate the other. It takes it’s toll on the families, and soon the two men are left to choose which is more important for Christmas; their family or their pride…
This mediocre festive film offers lots of cheese in respect of acting, plot and gags- enough to turn your milk sour but still be watchable to the point of how bad it is, but somehow still good enough never to be a real Christmas dud. It's got some funny moments and wry put-downs, and DeVito is the saving grace here.
It’s typically predictable, setting up two warring middle-aged men who will use Christmas as a battle ground for many slapstick confrontations, fights and disasters and will then be won over by a loving community and even more loving family. Everything else is just run of the mill.
Matthew Broderick seems to think he’s funnier than he really is, and many of his prat-falls and witty one-liners don’t ever take off and they all come over as very wooden. DeVito however is quite amusing with his taunts and slippery ways of humiliating his enemy. A few amusing put-downs here and there make him watchable, but Chenoweth adds some zest to proceedings as his glamorous housewife.
The action (if you can call it that) is slapstick, and a checkbox of festive disasters waiting to happen which doesn’t set the bar, but it’s harmless enough for an 88 minute family film
'Deck The Halls' is a Regency Enterprises production