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Overall Rating
1.49

Awesome: 2.7%
Worth A Look: 2.7%
Average: 5.41%
Pretty Bad: 18.92%
Total Crap70.27%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings



Deck the Halls
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by brianorndorf

"The wet spot on the king-sized bed of Christmas"
1 stars

The Christmas spirit gets a methodical beating in “Deck the Halls,” the latest holiday comedy destined to make the audience wish it was January already.

Steve (Matthew Broderick) loves Christmas, roping his weary family (including Kristin Davis) into the holiday spirit year after year, and assuming the title of “Mr. Christmas” in his idyllic small town. Buddy (Danny DeVito) is just moving into the neighborhood, and desires to makes an impact outside of his humdrum family life (including Kristin Chenoweth). When Buddy finds out his house can’t been seen on a Google Earth program, he’s inspired to cover his house in Christmas lights, leaving Steve jealous and ready to defend his title as the holiday season approaches.

In the tradition of “Christmas with the Kranks” and “Jingle All the Way” comes “Deck the Halls;” another Christmas lump of coal sure to dampen the yuletide glee of anyone pumped for the holidays.

It’s not that “Halls” is unfunny, but rather it has this desire, need, itch to be as grating and uninspired as it can possibly be. Look to the left, and there’s Danny DeVito. Look to the right, and there’s Matthew Broderick. Heck, even the delightful Kristin Chenoweth is floating around this film, so there are no excuses why “Halls” is so awful. These are able comedians, cast in a film that’s ready to drink up the eggnog good times. Yet, like a perfect car crash in slo-mo, it all goes horribly wrong.

Gunking up the gears of “Halls” is the screenplay by Matt Corman, Chris Ord, and Don Rhymer. These guys needed to take two steps back from the laptop and realize just how miscalculated a tale they were constructing. The battle between Buddy and Steve is terribly one-sided, with uptight control freak Steve not just handed the majority of the pain and mental anguish served up, but all of it.

For some reason the film never explains, Buddy is viewed as the good guy throughout the picture. It seems the writers have forgotten that Buddy is something of a complete prick, willingly ditching his family, job, character, and neighborly hospitality so he can achieve his unreasonable and baffling goal of seeing his house from space. Steve is no saint, but at least he has a point to his actions, unlike Buddy. “Halls” dishes out the “Home Alone” style of slapstick on Steve any chance it gets, with the screenplay following closely behind to remind the audience that he’s the jerk here, not Buddy. It doesn’t help matters when DeVito plays Buddy with a smugness that makes you want to crawl up to the screen and slap him.

“Halls” remains standard-issue pratfall comedy for most of the running time, featuring Steve and Buddy in a speed skating contest, Steve bombarding Buddy’s house with fireworks, and having Steve fall in animal dung before getting a wad of green goo spit on him by a camel. That level of dreadful material is easy enough to ignore.

Where “Halls” becomes this wildly evil creation is in the final 15 minutes, where the screenplay decides to grow a moral core and pass itself off as a heartwarming statement on forgiveness and friendship, complete with a cell phone display procession (candles are so 1999) and Chenoweth leading a sing-along.

“Deck the Halls” has no right to try and sneak in some warmth when it traffics in such ghastly amount of unfunny business. The picture was well on its way to leaving peacefully, but it just had to get grabby with meaning of Christmas. If this film defines the holiday spirit, I’m giving up December for good.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15281&reviewer=404
originally posted: 11/23/06 12:23:07
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User Comments

11/02/09 art A POOR EXCUSE FOR A MOTION PITCURE! 1 stars
5/20/09 art THIS MOVIE STINK"S! 1 stars
11/27/08 little Red Such a waste of 9 bucks 1 stars
8/28/08 Shaun Wallner Devito is so Funny!! 5 stars
6/08/08 PAUL SHORTT MUDDLES ALONG WITH ROTE CHARACTERS AND UNIMAGINATIVE GAGS 2 stars
11/25/07 mike started out lame and only got more lame. just an annoying movie 1 stars
2/05/07 William Goss Christmas lights must make for swell nooses... 1 stars
1/15/07 Millie Maelstrom Could haters' REAL objection be that it DARES play songs referring to birth of Christ?!? 3 stars
1/13/07 Britney Spears into pruning hooks Maybe not a classic, but not nearly so bad as everyone seems to think. 3 stars
12/12/06 Tiffany It was ok. 4 stars
12/02/06 shagtex save your money or if in theatre sneak to another screen 1 stars
12/01/06 James Black CSE should be called "IT Sucks Balls" Devito is a perfect height to do the job. IT SUCKS !!!!!! 1 stars
11/25/06 Jeff Anderson Absolute crap, unfunny & depressing, but at least DeVito's having a great time! XMAS JUNK!! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Nov-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 06-Nov-2007

UK
  01-Dec-2006

Australia
  23-Nov-2006



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