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by Archives November 29, 2006

If you’re looking for a light comedy to relieve your mind of end-of-semester stress, or if you’re looking for a movie to put you in the holiday spirit, avoid subjecting yourself to Deck the Halls!

Danny Devito and Matthew Broderick star in this movie about two neighbours looking to create the most memorable Christmas for their families. Steve Finch (Broderick), an uptight, overly organized optometrist from the small town of Cloverdale, Massachusetts literally plans to have an unforgettable family Christmas.

Soon after the Halls move into the vacant house across the street, Finch finds his holiday plans in shambles. Buddy Hall (Devito), an extremely successful car salesman is on a quest for personal happiness and fulfillment.

When his beautiful, blond twin daughters tell him about satellite imaging that enables people to see the earth from space, Buddy embarks on a mission to have his house so bright with Christmas decorations it will be visible from space.

Before long, the Finches and the Halls are feuding. The movie plays out a slightly similar storyline to that of Christmas with the Kranks. The jokes, from burning Christmas trees to sabotaging a neighbour’s plans, have been done before story line is far from brilliant.

On the bright side, the Hall’s excessively elaborate Christmas decorations are quite impressive. However it does not take long for the Christmas LED light show to seem more like a giant, modern-day Lite-Brite than anything else.

As for the cast, which also included Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) and Kristin Chenoweth, the acting is weak. Young new-comers show their lack of experience and give far from convincing performances. Devito somehow manages to make the far-fetched Buddy Hall likable and somewhat believable, but his cast-mates fall short in their respective roles.

Director, John Whitesell, responsible for Malibu’s Most Wanted (2003) and Big Momma’s House 2 (2006) does manage to accurately convey how easy it is to get caught up in the commercialization of the holiday season. Finch and Hall both get so involved competing with one another, and with their elaborate schemes, that they fail to realize they are, in fact, pushing their families away and making Christmas everything but what they had intended.

Considering there are great, classic Christmas movies available, this one fails to compare. This 95 minute flick may be entertaining for children, however Deck the Halls is not worth the price of admission.

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