DECK THE HALLS
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Danny DeVito as BUDDY HALL
Matthew Broderick as STEVE FINCH
Kristin Chenoweth as TIA HALL
Alia Shawkat as MADISON FINCH
Dylan Blue as CARTER FINCH
Directed by: John Whitesell
Studio: 20th Century Fox
BY KEVIN CARR
Last Christmas, Fox had a feast and famine year when it came to box office. On one hand, there were films that were huge hits, like “Night at the Museum.” However, at the same time, there were other less successful holiday films like “Deck the Halls.”
“Deck the Halls” is one of those screwball family comedy that mines its comedy from the bickering of neighbors. Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito play Steve Finch and Buddy Hall, neighbors who meet on the playing field of holiday decorations. Steve is known as the most festive guy on the block, until Buddy comes in to challenge him. It’s ultimately Buddy’s goal for his halls to be decked out so much that it can be seen from space.
This film is never going to be remembered in cinema history as a giant of holiday favorites, but it does fit a specific mood. We’ve seen much of the jokes from “Home Improvement” when Tim Taylor is always trying to trump his neighbors with his holiday lights, so if you like that brand of funny, it’ll work for you.
“Deck the Halls” falls in a long line of bitter-yet-good-natured holiday films. Other recent films in this category include “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Surviving Christmas” and this year’s “Fred Claus.” They’re not meant to be as overly cynical as “Bad Santa,” but they’re not going for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” crowd either.
Ultimately, if you like these kind of films, you’ll enjoy “Deck the Halls.” Still, it’s a bit too faux-humbug for me.
The DVD comes with a feature commentary with director John Whitesell and Danny DeVito. The fullscreen disc includes bloopers, deleted scenes and cast interviews. There’s also featurettes on the construction of the home sets, the lighting design and how the cast dealt with shooting a cold-weather Christmas movie in a July heat wave.