Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito in Deck the Halls (2006)

Light Entertainment for Christmas

For Steve (Matthew Broderick - The Producers), Christmas is his time of the year, he is the "King of Christmas". That is until Buddy (Danny DeVito - Death to Smoochy) and his family move into the neighbourhood. Buddy wants to do something big for Christmas, so he sets about decorating his home with so many Christmas lights that it can be seen from space and in doing so starts a war with Steve for his title as "King of Christmas".

Although "Deck the Halls" certainly has a storyline it might as well not as it really isn't that interesting. Whilst other movies have tackled the warring neighbour's scenario with greater success and been more engaging, "Deck the Halls" fails to put enough emphasis on it and so it just meanders along as a loose vehicle for a range of set piece scenes. To its credit they do attempt to explain why Christmas is so important to Steve and why for Buddy it is equally important to do something big, but then it's sort of lost in all the mediocre meanderings and attempts to be funny.

Kristin Chenoweth and Danny DeVito in Deck the Halls (2006)

In the midst of all this warring there is a sentimental, feel good message to "Deck the Halls" which is no surprise as it is a Christmas movie but the execution of this element is sadly pretty poor. It honestly felt like that the producers decided that to qualify for being a real Christmas movie they needed to tag on a sentimental, feel good climax. But in doing so they over did it and made it far too blatant and cheesy. Okay so it's a Christmas comedy and most of them do tend to be cheesy but this is a bit too in your face for my liking.

"Deck the Halls" is not helped by the comedy element which except for a few gags really fails to get you laughing, which again boils down to it not knowing if it wants to be a movie for grown ups or a kiddies one. The jokes are far too obvious and despite "Deck the Halls" starring two good comedy actors it fails to really raise a smile. It's all too middle of the road, where some family comedies deliver jokes which have a double meaning which appeal to both young and old; "Deck the Halls" misses out on this trick and at times relies on a bit of good old fashioned slap stick, except it's not that good.

Although "Deck the Halls" stars Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito, who are two very good actors and comedians, I got a real sense that they are just going through the motions. It doesn't feel like they attempted to bring anything new to their characters and so end up just delivering characters which they have done before in other movies. Which I have to say is disappointing, but in some ways I am not surprised as it would be hard to do anything really special with what I think is an average story.

What this all boils down to is that "Deck the Halls" is what it is, a very routine, workman like Christmas comedy which has a few memorable scenes, a few laughs but for the most languishes in mediocrity failing to really target a specific audience. It's not juvenile enough for children, it's not risqué enough for adults and so trundles along until it slaps you in the face with a cliché and unsubtle sentimental climax.

Tags: Christmas Movies