Deck the Halls

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Deck the Halls
Deck the halls.jpg
It‘s best to not to follow this film in merry measure.
Genre: Christmas comedy
Directed By: John Whitesell
Produced By: Arnon Milchan
Michael Costigan
John Whitesell
Written By: Matt Corman
Chris Ord
Don Rhymer
Starring: Danny DeVito
Matthew Broderick
Kristin Davis
Kristin Chenoweth
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 22, 2006
Runtime: 93 minutes


""You cannot believe how excruciatingly awful this movie is. It is bad in a way that will cause unfortunate viewers to huddle in the lobby afterward, hugging in small groups, consoling one another with the knowledge that it's over, it's over -- thank God, it's over. [...] Compared to the honest hard labor performed by tens of millions of Americans every day, a film critic's job is like a winning lottery ticket. But there IS work involved, and it can be painful -- and the next time someone tells me I have the best job in the world, I'm going to grab them by the ear, fourth-grade-teacher-in-1966-style, and drag them to see Deck the Halls."

- Richard Roeper's official review of the movie."

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Deck the Halls is a 2006 American Christmas comedy film directed by John Whitesell, written by Matt Corman, Chris Ord, and Don Rhymer, and starring Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, and Kristin Chenoweth. The film was released on November 22, 2006.

This film is not to be confused with the 2005 Christmas drama film of the same name starring Gabrielle Carteris, Steve Bacic, and Steven Culp.

Plot

Two neighbors fight it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space.

Why It Won't Deck The Halls

  1. The plot is absolutely preposterous. It basically centres around Buddy trying to get his house seen from space with Christmas lights. And no, they aren't self-aware about it either, since every time he talks about it, the score becomes softer and more sympathetic in order to make the viewer feel sorry for him.
  2. The acting all around is pretty weak, but none more than Matthew Broderick as Steve. He comes across as too wooden and awkward.
  3. Both Steve and Buddy aren't all that likeable. Steve constantly tries to sabotage Buddy to protect his reputation as "the Christmas guy", while Buddy continually financially screws over his family and Steve just so he can accomplish his goal.
  4. There's a good few minutes where Steve and Buddy compete in a speed-skating competition at a winter festival, which serves as nothing more than filler.
    • There's even an uncomfortable scene where the two drool over a group of women in Santa outfits, three of which turn out to be their daughters.
  5. The comedy is entirely flat, mostly relying on poor slapstick and uncomfortable jokes, such as the aforementioned scene with the guys' daughters and a running gag with the sheriff being a cross-dresser.
  6. In the beginning, there's one scene where so much information on who the new characters are is thrown at the viewer that it's hard to follow.
  7. Near the end, the movie tries to go for a moral about how Christmas is about the little things, but it's ruined and even becomes hypocritical because the film ends with Buddy getting his wish of his house being visible from space, meaning by the end, nothing is learned.
  8. Because of the reason mentioned above, it doesn't even feel like a Christmas movie at all, even with the plot of Buddy lighting up his house.
  9. The poster looks stupid, as the Christmas lights were clearly photoshopped onto Matthew Broderick, and that the house looks large than what's actually shown on-screen.
  10. Plot hole: How did Buddy even manage to earn back his wife's prized vase if it took almost like ONE DAY, and speaking of that, how did both Buddy and Steve manage to cook all that food from the cookbook in a DAY? Unless they actually stole it, that's for sure. And one last thing, there is absolutely no way Steve and Buddy constructed an entire path out of the Christmas lights for their families to walk through the house if it was all just one day.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. There are a couple funny moments.
  2. Danny DeVito does provide a decent performance, despite his nomination for Worst Supporting Actor at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
  3. Steve's wife, Kelly, is a likable character.

Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 6% based on 83 reviews with an average rating of 2.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Relying on flat humor and a preposterous plot, Deck the Halls is an unnecessarily mean-spirited holiday movie that does little to put viewers in a holiday mood." It is the third-worst reviewed Christmas movie on the site. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 28 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.

Richard Roeper, co-host of the television show Ebert & Roeper, wrote:

"You cannot believe how excruciatingly awful this movie is. It is bad in a way that will cause unfortunate viewers to huddle in the lobby afterward, hugging in small groups, consoling one another with the knowledge that it's over, it's over -- thank God, it's over. [...] Compared to the honest hard labor performed by tens of millions of Americans every day, a film critic's job is like a winning lottery ticket. But there IS work involved, and it can be painful -- and the next time someone tells me I have the best job in the world, I'm going to grab them by the ear, fourth-grade-teacher-in-1966-style, and drag them to see Deck the Halls."

The film was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards:

  • Worst Excuse For Family Entertainment
  • Worst Supporting Actor (Danny DeVito)
  • Worst Supporting Actress (Kristin Chenoweth).

Videos

Trivia

  • The working title for this film was All Lit Up.
  • In the scene in which Steve and Buddy are in a speedskating race, Matthew Broderick had to train with a real Olympic speed skater trainer for a few weeks before he could film that scene. He trained at Chelsea Piers in New York.
  • According to Gillian Vigman, the main actors were unhappy on set. Kristin Chenoweth was still coping with her split from Aaron Sorkin, Danny DeVito flew in to film his scenes rather than interact with anyone, and Matthew Broderick could be found on set shaking his head in disbelief, repeatedly stating "I've hit rock bottom."

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