Anyway, the movie. I'd managed to miss out on going to see the latest Santa Clause movie last week, but got coralled into going to see Deck The Halls this afternoon. It wasn't a horrible movie, but it certainly wasn't the sort of thing that I would, on my own, likely seek out to spend time watching. Starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito, it's a fairly predictable "suburban comedy" about holiday displays, etc. As if often the case with these things, an R-rated version would have been much more fun, especially with Kristin Cheoweth as DeVito's character's wife, and the Aldridge twins (the statuesque Sabrina and Kelly) as their daughters. As DeVito's character would no doubt had said: "hubba-hubba!".
Now, I live in the downtown of a major urban center ... generally speaking, I've always lived downtown in a major urban center (except for my 3 years up at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI) ... so these "suburban / small town" comedies probably mean less to me than they might to folks who have actually spent some time in these environments. I'm sure that there are "subtle comedic cues" woven through this that I miss because of my lack of familiarity with the great "out there". As such, the stuff that this reminds me of tends to be more like Natonal Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, than any experience that I might have had myself.
Danny DeVito doesn't exactly stretch himself here, he plays pretty much the same character (but with a softer heart) as he did in Matilda (one of my kids' much-watched videos), a car salesman with a sort of sleazy wife. Broderick is typecast as a small-town eye doctor with a rather vanilla family (I don't know if Kristin Davis who plays his wife's part was brilliant or horrible, but was so irritating that I kept wanting some bad slapstick to happen to her all through the movie), which lives across the street from the house that DeVito's character rents (and then get the inspiration to have Xmas decor that can be seen from space).
All sorts of unfortunate hilarity ensues as DeVito's character works toward his display goals (there is an interesting tech note about the lighting set-up he ends up with over on the IMDB site), totally destroying Broderick's character's Xmas routine, and ultimately causing havoc in both families. After a few highly implasible events, everybody gets back together, sings some Xmas carols, an ultimately gets seen by something like the Google satellite center. Just feel the sugar rush. Bleh. Anyway, everytime it veered into being insufferable, it did pull back from the abyss with something genuinely comedic, so was not agonizing to watch, but it teased one! Needless to say, I can't really recommend this, but if you're itching for something PG and holiday-themed, "it could be worse".