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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.97%
Average: 27.03%
Pretty Bad: 1.35%
Total Crap: 9.46%

4 reviews, 50 user ratings

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Danny Deckchair
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Up, up and ... OK."
3 stars

We Yanks have enjoyed quite a few daffy Australian comedies over the years, and I think part of the reason is that, in addition to being so sunny, they're also usually free of any social importance. "Muriel's Wedding," "The Dish," "The Castle" and "My Myself I," to name a few, are upbeat, often with sly dark comedy lurking in the fringes, and none of them care too much about making a point.

"Danny Deckchair," on the other hand, combines Australia's laid-back attitude with Hollywood's penchant for ham-fisted moralizing. In America, it's not enough that the characters enjoy a wacky adventure; they have to LEARN something, too. I liked it when Australian comedies offered a reprieve from this, but oh well. "Danny Deckchair" is generally funny enough to make sitting through its predictable, half-hearted attempts at lesson-learning tolerable.

Danny (Rhys Ifans) is an easily distracted, mildly competent Sydney construction worker with a bossy live-in girlfriend named Trudy (Justine Clarke) and a lot of good mates. But Danny gets bored easily, and when he's bored, he hatches unusual schemes -- like the time he made a slingshot big enough to launch a person, and then launched a person.

This time, sullen over Trudy's nixing of his vacation plans and also over her flirtation with unctuous TV anchorperson Sandy Upman (Rhys Muldoon), Danny affixes several dozen helium balloons to a lawnchair (or "deckchair," as they apparently call it down there) and rockets upward into the summer sky. He is quickly gone from sight, and Trudy and his friends -- and soon the whole country, via TV coverage -- are abuzz with speculation and worry about what's become of him.

What becomes of him is that he lands in a small town called Clarence, which is currently in the midst of its annual Macadamia Festival. He alights in a tree owned by Glenda Lake (Miranda Otto), the local wallflower with no friends, though in a town like this, everyone is at least friendly, whether they're actually "friends" or not. For Danny, being in Clarence is like starting over with a new life, one where people like his ideas and treat him with respect and neighborliness. He's in no hurry to go home, and since the TV news for some reason never shows a recent photo of him, none of the locals recognize him. For Glenda, there's a strange but likable man who has literally dropped from the sky into her world.

Back in Sydney, Trudy parlays Danny's tragic disappearance into fame of her own, making her sufficiently loathsome for us not to care when Danny inevitably falls in love with Glenda instead.

And that's the movie's problem. It's funny and charming up to a point, and then it becomes pedestrian. The odd folks in Clarence, Rhys Ifans' agility in comedy both verbal and physical, the amusing touches in Jeff Balsmeyer's script -- it's all well and good, but then it's bogged down by the tedious plotting that only goes where we expect it to.

Balsmeyer directed, too, his first time in that capacity after years of experience as a storyboard artist. With a little more fat-trimming and a little less self-conscious quirkiness, he could be a wonderful storyteller. Like Danny, he has some attention-grabbing eccentric ideas; he just isn't sure what to do with them.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 08/31/04 05:49:38
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/27/09 Dan I stumbled across this and could not keep from digging it. Great B movie 5 stars
3/23/09 Ken Taylor I love this movie. It is a delightful fantasy. Bellington as a backdrop is wonderful. 5 stars
9/22/07 Matt not bad 3 stars
7/04/07 Evan Yes, predictable; but the msg is a good one, the characters enguaging and it made me smile. 4 stars
11/18/06 bird so shines a beautiful movie in a weary world 5 stars
6/07/06 kevin its shit, waste of money and time 1 stars
5/28/06 Josaphene liana I live in the town it was shot in so exciting at the time i was actuallu an extra and so wa 5 stars
10/05/05 Mal Good fun! 5 stars
6/01/05 leinink Charming. Interesting characters. Loved it. 5 stars
4/26/05 LeeLee Barrett It was really good. very creative 4 stars
1/17/05 pussyfoot appalling waste of money and time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
1/14/05 Lance How desperate was the bit where he makes the speech? Unspeakably awful shite. 1 stars
12/28/04 efrain a heartfelt story. watch it if you have time. 4 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt A real feel good movie!!! 5 stars
5/30/04 Larry It's based on a tru story--look up Lawn Chair Larry on Google. 5 stars
5/13/04 i faijer Lovely!! 5 stars
4/18/04 M please dont bother people!!!! 1 stars
2/03/04 Chris Good Laugh..makes you want to get out of the City 5 stars
1/26/04 Alex Hosking Like the breath of fresh air that lifted Danny up, up and away. Don't miss it. 4 stars
1/01/04 sandra hill video- loved it- especially Rhys Ifens 5 stars
12/18/03 micky d loved it 5 stars
10/24/03 Ben Light but great fun 4 stars
9/09/03 rachael it was fuking awsome 5 stars
9/09/03 Emma Light-hearted and Different. Very Enjoyable! I'm not usually a fan of Aussie flicks either. 5 stars
9/02/03 Julie It was a good laugh- although too predictable 4 stars
8/28/03 Danielle good, better than i thought, not EXCELLENT 4 stars
8/24/03 Caela Rooney Great film 5 stars
8/18/03 Graham Not the best movie of the year, but the best feel-good I've seen for a while. 5 stars
8/16/03 Robin Grant Thorourghly Uplifting 5 stars
8/15/03 Paul Dempsey What a surprise another shit Australian film. Am I a sucker for punishment? 1 stars
8/15/03 Heather I loved it. It turned my blue day - pink 5 stars
8/10/03 Richard Briliant Australian should be a hit world wide. 5 stars
8/10/03 Lesley White Better than I thought it would be 4 stars
8/05/03 Mick Lacks republican wannabes therefore good 4 stars
8/05/03 Joel Bofinger Great movie although a lot of scenes have been cut from it. It was filmed in my town!!!! 4 stars
8/05/03 Sam light humour for all 5 stars
8/04/03 Greg Haye An insult to the intelligence - totally unfunny with holes you could drive a truck through 2 stars
8/02/03 Zak Really great movie! 5 stars
8/01/03 Double G CHAIR, WHY NOT ABOUT DESK 1 stars
7/25/03 Grant Burgess a great lighthearted comedy 5 stars
7/13/03 Patrick Ripsnorter Awesome, funny, cool 5 stars
7/12/03 Lemmy Pee-yew, what a stinkeroo! 1 stars
7/12/03 Anita Feel good movie l'd see more than once 4 stars
7/09/03 glen Good laugh for all 5 stars
7/08/03 pip hilarious, timeless romance 5 stars
7/04/03 Toby Very Funny, Feel good movie. 5 stars
7/03/03 Liz I was an extra too - definately a fun movie to see 5 stars
5/23/03 John movie outstanding 5 stars
5/23/03 Andrew Chambers i was an extra in the movie!its going to be big!!! 5 stars
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  11-Aug-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2004


  31-Jul-2003 (PG)

Directed by
  Jeff Balsmeyer

Written by
  Jeff Balsmeyer

  Rhys Ifans
  Miranda Otto
  Justine Clarke
  Rhys Muldoon
  Andrew Crabbe
  Angus King

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