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Deck the Halls (2006)

by on 2012/12/17

deck_the_halls_2006“I’m the Christmas guy! I’m the Christmas guy!”

* *

No matter how hard I try, December is always exhausting. I get my Christmas shopping done early. I chip away at it over the course of months. This year, I even wrapped everything early.

It is still exhausting.

It is always, always the busiest season at work. It is like everyone waits to scramble out all the major projects in December. That agony is compounded with even more family obligations, trips to the mall and grocery store.

Plus people act increasingly unhinged as we race frantically toward Christmas. Reckless driving, people melting down in retail line ups, families elbowing their way to the toy displays.

Unfortunately, bad behaviour is all around us this – and every – festive season.

Filmed in British Columbia, this vehicle about bad holiday behaviour starring Danny DeVito (Batman Returns) and Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) should have struck some resonant chord with me.

I can’t stress enough how absolutely, positively Deck the Halls did not.

I have loved movies where a Matthew Broderick suffers the ignominy of suburban adulthood like Election. Matthew suffers here too. But ultimately, the audience suffers more.

Broderick plays Steve Finch, an officious man who loves Christmas and subjects his cringing family to a festive forced march every year. We are talking matching sweaters, chopping down the fir tree in the forest, caroling. Shudder.

Danny DeVito plays Buddy Hall, a car salesperson with a monomania for making his home holiday decorations so bright and impressive they can be seen from space.

And… that’s about it. The house gets more and more bright and more and more garish. Broderick’s character doesn’t like it and acts out. DeVito’s character retaliates. Rinse, repeat.

Bad special effects are used to make the grown ups hurting themselves scenes more spectacular.

Normally, Miss_Tree my favourite teenager and I like a good non-fatal accident involving silly men behaving badly.

Not this time.

The real fascination in the film is how Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito avoid checking their watches during each of their scenes. Poor guys.

There are some incredible people in this awful movie. Fred Armisen (Easy A), Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle), Alia Shawkat (Whip It) and Gillian Vigman (40-Year-Old Virgin). Unfortunately, they are also given nothing – absolutely nothing – to work with here.

A bad script, poor-taste sight gags, horrible blue screen special effects, sleepwalking, distracted performances, a thread-bare plot, it is impossible to pick through the wreckage and find anything redeeming here. Even Armisen is awful and I love him in everything – how does that even happen?

In fact, if you’ve gotten this far, I want to give you – just you, yes, you – a present. E-mail me your co-ordinates and I will mail you this movie, at no charge and no strings attached.

Er, in the spirit of the season and stuff.

It is yours.

Take it.

Please.

* *

93 min

Rated PG for some crude and suggestive humor, for language and Broderick and DeVito nude in a sleeping bag for um, medical reasons

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