DECK THE HALLS Friday 02 December, 2011

Christmas. The perfect time to have a falling out with your neighbours. Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick decide to show us how it’s done.

I haven’t seen Danny DeVito in anything for ages. Come to think of it I don’t think I’ve seen Matthew Broderick in anything for a while either. I think The last thing I saw him in was 30Rock. Why is that? They’re both accomplished actors and have undoubted screen presence. It must be something to do with the fickle nature of hollywood producers. That or they just don’t need to work because they’re so rich. Anyway, whatever the reason for their screen hiatus’ they’re both back here and decided to give us a show for christmas.

Steve Finch (Broderick) is an optician in a small town. He is also the local expert on christmas celebrations. Life is going smoothly for him when Buddy Hall (DeVito) moves into the house opposite. Buddy is a car salesman (with all that that implies) with an ex pole-dancer wife. He is also looking for something that he can achieve with his life. He stumbles upon the answer when he decides that he will cover his house in so many christmas lights that it will be visible from space. Cue much warring between the two men.

It’s pretty standard fare. The two men go tit-for-tat and the wives (one of whom is played by Sex and The City’s Kristin Davis) tut and become best friends. Men are so childish aren’t they. Yeah we are, so fuck off with your condescension…ahem. It is all a little patronising but it’s pleasant enough. All the roles are ably performed. DeVito is annoying and slimy as the reckless Hall. Broderick is capable of playing the victim and aggressor and does so well.

You will be siding with Broderick’s character for most of the film. If nothing else just because of how truly horrible the light covered house is but eventually  we are allowed to find Broderick annoying too. None of the characters come out of this looking great. There are a few laughs to be had but only a few. Look out for Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development’s Maebe Fünke) and a scene of tawdry male bonding gone wrong.

This film is ok if you have been filled with lumps of dead bird and are unable to reach the remote. It’s just average really. Not awful, not brilliant. The tepid sludge in between the two.

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