Max Christmas Decorations
The good news is that they didn't call it "Deck the Halls 2" because for all sense and purpose "Battle of the Bulbs" is "Deck the Halls" with 2 grown men trying to outdo each other with their Christmas decorations. But the thing is that whilst "Battle of the Bulbs" may be just a made for TV Christmas movie and is all very obvious it has two things going for it, Daniel Stern and Matt Frewer. Both Daniel Stern and Matt Frewer are great visual comedians full of facial expressions and slapstick which brings "Battle of the Bulbs" to life to the point it is better than some big screen Christmas movies.
It's the 1st day of Christmas and Bob Wallace (Daniel Stern - City Slickers II) is in the Christmas spirit, rallying his family to help him decorate the house in the hope they will win the annual Christmas decoration competition. But a dark shadow looms when the new neighbours move in across the street as head of the house hold is Stu Jones (Matt Frewer - Dawn of the Dead), Bob's one time best friend during high school but they became sworn enemies when they entered a competition. That rivalry is reignited as Bob and Stu try to outdo each other with their Christmas decorations, doing what ever it takes, fair or foul, to beat the other.
I'm not going to try and make "Battle of the Bulbs" sound any better than it is because it is the routine comedy of two grown men behaving like children as they try to outdo each other. It's all been done before as they add more lights to their houses, spy on each other and resort to under hand tactics to try and outdo the other. And of course all this competitive rivalry ends up with them realising how stupid it all is and we get a positive upbeat message and a happy ever after ending. It is all very obvious yet also surprisingly enjoyable.
But the thing which "Battle of the Bulbs" has got is two great visual comedians who excel when it comes to slapstick and funny faces. Both Daniel Stern and Matt Frewer deliver scene after scene of big laughs purely thanks to their great sense of humour, a smirk from Bob as he thinks he has got one over on Stu is brilliant because of the way Stern delivers it. And then you have Frewer, who some will remember as Max Headroom, delivering laugh after laugh especially when he gives us his Sean Connery/James Bond impression. It is thanks to Daniel Stern and Matt Frewer that "Battle of the Bulbs" comes to life and to be honest is better than "Deck the Halls".
And that to be honest is it because whilst we have other characters and actors such as Emily Tennant as Bob's daughter Susie and William Hutchinson as Stu's son Chip it is all about Daniel Stern and Matt Frewer and their comic talents. Having said that both Maxine Miller and Tim Henry add some sweet charm as the old singletons who chat on the street each night in front of the rivals houses.
What this all boils down to is that "Battle of the Bulbs" basically feels like a Christmas TV movie in the same style as "Deck the Halls". But because "Battle of the Bulbs" has the comic talents of Daniel Stern and Matt Frewer it is full of better laughs even if everything else is all very familiar.