Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito are hilarious as two neighbors trying to put the "win" in "winter" in one of the year's funniest comedies! Determined to unseat Steve Finch's (Broderick) reign as the town's holiday seaso... more »n king, Buddy Hall (DeVito) plasters his house with so many decorative lights that it'll be visible from space! When their wives (Kristin Davis and Kristin Chenoweth) bond, and their kids follow suit, the two men only escalate their rivalry and their decorating. It's anybody's guess whether the holidays will wind up jolly or jostled in this wild and woolly laugh-fest that the whole family will love!« less
Kevin R. Austra | Delaware Valley, USA | 11/13/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This film not only missed the mark, it missed the tournament. DECK THE HALLS is a Christmas movie hopelessly in search of a genre. The plot, which should have been simple, leans one way and then the other. At times DECK THE HALLS seemed to be a "Wanna Be" with blatant similarities to other comedies such as RV, CHRISTMAS VACATION, and PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES. Unfortunately the story trips over the holiday holly.
In the story Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) moves in across the street from Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick). Finch is an upper middle class Massachusetts optometrist who holds the unofficial title as Mr. Christmas in his community. Finch is de-throned by his neighbor when Hall coincidentally decides to adorn his own home with so many lights that it will be visible from outer space. The gaudy Christmas display across the street only serves to push Finch over the edge. Though visitors and reporters gleefully flock to Hall's ever brighter work-in-progress, Finch is not amused by the noise, bright lights, and traffic blocking his driveway.
Finch loses his patience and attempts to sabotage Hall's efforts. Finch's attempts not only backfire, but draw retaliation from Hall. The obsessions of both men, Hall with his lights and Finch with toppling Hall, finally drive the two men's wives and children from their respective homes. The neighbors realize that in their various selfish pursuits they ignored their families. Finding something in common the two make peace, work together to lure their families back, and discover the Yule tide gift of friendship.
Sorry folks. The plot summary is better than the actual film. There were so many missed opportunities in this movie. From the original theatrical trailer I mistakenly thought that this would be a movie about two neighbors competing against each other with holiday decorations. That would have been a good premise. The film could also have gone deeper into Buddy Hall's story. Hall is a man who, as his wife explains in one scene, never finishes anything in his life. The holiday decorating obsession is just one example of Hall's misguided focus on something other than showing up for work every day. With additional concentration on this theme there could have been an entire movie. Instead it falls by the wayside.
Likewise there is no depth to Matthew Broderick's character. Nice family, beautiful home, promising career, spiteful neighbor. The fact that he is irritated by his neighbor's lightshow is one thing, but it is difficult to believe that this otherwise stuffy traditionalist would dress up in commando garb and assault his new neighbor's electrical utility box.
Unlike PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILE's main characters Del Griffith and Neal Page, Buddy Hall and Steve Finch are not nice people. Any sympathy we have for dreamer Buddy Hall is dashed when we see that he swipes Finch's newspaper, illegally patches into Finch's own electrical box to steal power for his light show, and breaks into the Finch house to set up a stolen Christmas tree. It then appears that Hall is trying to make amends by making a gift of a brand new SUV to Finch -- only to belatedly turn out that Finch is expected to pay for the expensive fully loaded vehicle. Buddy Hall is no Del Griffith.
Finch is no angel either. When he is not planning commando-style raids on his neighbor's holiday lights he is bombarding the Hall home with an arsenal of fireworks. His negative comments to Hall about Hall's outer space dream are just plain mean. In terms of civility Steve Finch is no Neal Page.
There are some isolated funny moments in this film. I did enjoy the scenes involving Hall's over-decorated home. Otherwise this movie goes nowhere. An added disappointment was that the wide screen version of my movie has a repeated chapter. The runaway Santa Claus sled and its aftermath appear twice. If my DVD bears that defect there are probably hundreds others with the same malady.
The worst Christmas movie ever made
Patrick | Wisconsin, USA | 11/11/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"How can ANYBODY enjoy this movie? It starts out pretty good. Some light humor with beautiful scenery. Whoever was the set designer did an outstanding job. But other than that, they took two good actors and turned them into the most obnoxious guys you'd ever meet. One sells his wife's cherished family heirloom to put lights on his house so that it can be seen from space (why anybody would want to do that is beyond me) and the other nearly blows his house up with his family inside because he wanted to give his neighbor a heart attack.
In the end, Danny Devito's house is seen from space but what sense of accomplishment does he get from that? It can be seen from space. Now what? The whole premise of the movie is just stupid.
And was Matthew Broderick the ONLY other neighbor? Nobody else in the neighborhood would have complained about the music blasting until 4am?"
A Waste of Time
db Sutton | Seattle WA | 11/21/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What a waste of time & talent. I usually love Chrismas movies, but this one totally misses the mark. DeVito is missing his signature wit. Broderick looks constipated. The wives & kids might as well not even be in the movie considering the input they were allowed. The plot was choppy & just didn't make sense at times. It had none of the uplifting scenes you expect from a holiday movie. Save your money."
Nightmare before Christmas
O.T. Values | Charlotte | 11/21/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Christmas comedy movies can range from the sublime (Christmas Vacation, Home Alone) to the pitiful ( Ernest Steals Christmas). "Deck The Halls" sets a new low standard in Christmas offerings with it's horrible script, poor acting and shallow plot. I rented this with the memories of Matthew Broderick's funny and convincing performance in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off", but realized quickly into the movie that Sir Lawrence Olivier couldn't have made a convincing character out of this horrible script. Danny DeVito shows his inability to create a laugh, hoping that his gnome-like smallness will get him the laughs. He fails miserably.. The only reason this movie receives 1 star is due to the lack of a lower possible grade. Save your money and time and let the Griswalds bring some Christmas laughs again."
At least it was a Green X-ma$ for Broderick and DeVito!
Hammock Rider | Talk of the Town Trailer Estates Park - Southern C | 10/28/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I really like watching Christmas movies. In part because I like Christmas, but also because I like to see how Christmas and our celebration of it is portrayed over time. It's gone from a reverential celebration of religion and family to a funny(or not) analysis of modern obsessive behavior and over-consumption. Then there are movies like these, which are just time killers. This is Christmas as Product.
It has a few watchable moments. Kristin Chenowith is plenty hot as always and gets to sing a teeny little bit and Kristin Davis is the most adorable lil mannequin come-to-life since her SATC partner originated that act years ago. There is one bit in particular which made me laugh. It's horrible and if you're a father you should hope it never happens to you. I won't ruin it for you but I will say in the next scene DeVito and Broderick are in a church washing their eyes out with holy water, with good reason. It's one of the few scenes that show any signs of life, which is too bad because this thing could have used many more.
Mostly though the movie is lackluster. It doesn't have the manic energy of a Christmas Vacation or the heart warming nostalgia of Christmas Story or the black, outrageous humor of Bad Santa or the child-like joy and goofiness of Elf. It has a few badly paced jokes and more than its share of sleep walking actors. The pace and performances were so slow and half hearted that I felt like I was watching the entire movie through a Valium induced haze.
The movie has no real heart or message, or insight and it's not very funny. It's a place holder, the studio needed to put out something for the Christmas movie-going audience so they cranked up the Eszterhas 3000, set it for "HOLIDAY" and extruded this....."movie". Pretend it's a Christmas stocking folks, and STUFF IT! "