Deck the Halls Review
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Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) loves Christmas. As a kid, he moved from military base to military base, and Christmas sometimes meant sitting on the kitchen floor, eating French fries with his dad. But now that he’s a grown-up, Steve is free to chop down a Christmas tree with his family and put up Christmas decorations and go caroling. He’s even the chairman of the town’s annual Winterfest. Steve is The Christmas Guy.

That all changes, though, when Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) moves in across the street. Buddy is a salesman who’s just trying to support his family. But selling things bores Buddy. What he really wants is to do something monumental. After Buddy’s daughters find a Web site that allows them to see people’s houses from space, Buddy decides that his something monumental will be lighting up his whole house until it can be seen from space.

So Buddy buys all the Christmas lights he can and starts decorating. He’s got trees and flashing lights and a real nativity scene with a real [spitting] camel. He’s even got loud Christmas music that plays long into the night. And, across the street, Steve and his wife, Kelly (Kristin Davis), can barely sleep anymore. And, even worse, people in town are starting to see Buddy as The Christmas Guy. And that is intolerable. So Steve declares war on his garish neighbor.

Add Deck the Halls to the long list of ridiculously cliché holiday movies. While I’ll admit that I didn’t expect a whole lot from Matthew Broderick—since he’s pretty much played the same annoying character over and over and over since his one good role as Ferris Beuller—I’d actually hoped that Danny DeVito would somehow make up for it. Unfortunately, his character is every bit as annoying as Broderick’s. Add the usual cliché family members—Buddy’s feisty blonde wife (Kristin Chenoweth) and ditzy blonde twins (Kelly and Sabrina Aldridge of MTV’s 8th & Ocean fame), Steve’s spineless wife (Kristin Davis), his 10-year-old-going-on-65 son (Dylan Blue), and his cranky teenage daughter who hates everyone (Alia Shawkat)—and throw in the ubiquitous sappy ending, and you’ve got yourself another painful holiday movie.

For a while, I managed to play along with the cheap laughs and the holiday movie clichés. After all, it’s the holidays—and you’ve just got to have a little bit of tolerance for cliché silliness during the holidays. But, unfortunately, I’d already seen the majority of the movie’s funniest moments—because they’re all in the trailer. And even those moments aren’t all that funny. In the end, I found myself more entertained by the audience’s reactions to the movie’s most ridiculous parts than I was by the movie itself.

Sure, going to see Deck the Halls may be more relaxing than trying to find a parking space at the mall on a Saturday in December. But so is sitting at home with a cup of hot chocolate and watching A Christmas Story again. I highly recommend the latter.

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