Deck the Halls (2006 film)
Deck the Halls is a 2006 American Christmas comedy film directed by John Whitesell, written by Matt Corman, Chris Ord, and Don Rhymer and starring Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, and Kristin Chenoweth. The film was released on November 22, 2006.
|Deck the Halls|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Whitesell|
|Music by||George S. Clinton|
|Edited by||Paul Hirsch|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|November 22, 2006|
|Box office||$46.8 million|
In a small Massachusetts town, local optometrist and Christmas mope expert Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) wants his kids to have a great Christmas, packed with Steve's tried-and-true traditions such as using an Advent calendar, taking Christmas card pictures in matching sweaters, and getting a large tree. In the dead of night on December 1, new neighbors move in across the street. Steve meets car salesman Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) and his wife Tia (Kristin Chenoweth) the next morning when Buddy steals Steve's paper. Later that day, Steve's wife Kelly (Kristin Davis) and her daughter Madison (Alia Shawkat) and son Carter (Dylan Blue) go to the Hall house, where they meet their teenage twin daughters, Ashley (Sabrina Aldridge) and Emily (Kelly Aldridge). Tia and Kelly immediately become friends, as do Ashley, Emily, and Madison.
That night, Buddy complains to Tia that while he can sell anything, he gets bored quickly. On discovering that the neighborhood can be seen on satellite photos via a website called MyEarth (seemingly a parody of Google Earth) but that his house is not visible, Buddy decides to make it visible using Christmas lights. As his display grows bigger, including live animals, it gets Buddy known around town, upsetting Steve and threatening his position as "the Christmas guy" and chairman of the town's WinterFest. Enmity grows between the men; in various incidents, Steve's Christmas-card photo is ruined, his car doors are ripped off, and his private Christmas-tree lot is destroyed. Eventually Buddy's house is completely lit, and even synchronized to music. Steve attempts to deflate the light show by filling Buddy's fusebox with snow, but a backup generator foils his plan. Buddy discovers the sabotage and gets back at Steve by stealing the town Christmas tree and putting it in Steve's house, and "buying" him a car -- for which he forged Steve's signature to a loan for which Steve is on the hook.
Buddy and Steve make a bet: if Steve beats Buddy in the WinterFest speedskating race, then Buddy removes the lights, and if Buddy beats Steve, Steve pays for the car. Buddy wins, and Steve yells at him for being a nobody, since his house is still not visible from space. Hurt, Buddy compensates by buying a huge amount of programmable LED lights. He pays for this by hocking Tia's expensive heirloom vase, and Tia and the girls depart. Having had enough, Steve buys a variety of fireworks including a large, illegal, military-grade rocket from a gangster and tries to blow up the Hall house. The rocket misfires, setting the Finch house on fire, and Steve's family leaves. Steve and Buddy forget their rivalry and build a winter wonderland with all of Buddy's lights. They lure Tia, Kelly, and the kids home and all sit down to a nice meal.
Soon the whole town helps put Buddy's lights back up in time for a story about them on MTV. They do not work, and everyone sings carols and uses their cell phones as flashlights. As they sing, Carter notices that one of the plugs is not plugged in properly, which explains why the lights did not work. He tightly plugs it in, causing the lights to shine brightly through the night. SuChin Pak, who is doing the MTV report, gets confirmation from MyEarth that the house is indeed visible from space. The crowd celebrates as the film ends.
- Danny DeVito as Buddy Hall
- Matthew Broderick as Dr. Steve Finch
- Kristin Davis as Kelly Finch
- Kristin Chenoweth as Tia Hall
- Alia Shawkat as Madison Finch
- Dylan Blue as Carter Finch
- Jorge Garcia as Wallace
- Fred Armisen as Gustave
- Gillian Vigman as Gerta
- Ryan Devlin as Bob Murray
- Kelly Aldridge as Ashley Hall
- Sabrina Aldridge as Emily Hall
- Lochlyn Munro as Ted Beckham
- Sean O'Bryan as Mayor Young
- Jackie Burroughs as Mrs. Ryor
- Garry Chalk as Sheriff Dave
- Nicola Peltz as Mackenzie
- Kal Penn as Amit Sayid
- Cory Monteith as Madison's Date
- Zak Santiago as Fireworks Dealer
- Jill Krop as Herself
- SuChin Pak as Herself
In the scene in which Steve and Buddy are in a speedskating race, Matthew Broderick had to train with a real speedskater for a few months before he could film that scene. He trained at Chelsea Piers in New York.[verification needed]
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 6% based on 83 reviews with an average rating of 2.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Relying on flat humor and a preposterous plot, Deck the Halls is an unnecessarily mean-spirited holiday movie that does little to put viewers in a holiday mood." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 28 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel named it "A leaden slice of fruitcake, with about as much nutritional value," and concluding that "it's not worth working up a good hate over". Stephen Hunter remarked "I literally didn't count a single laugh in the whole aimless schlep," and suggested that the film should've been named Dreck the Halls instead. Michael Medved named it the "Worst Movie of 2006." Finally, Richard Roeper, co-host of the television show Ebert & Roeper, wrote:
"You cannot believe how excruciatingly awful this movie is. It is bad in a way that will cause unfortunate viewers to huddle in the lobby afterward, hugging in small groups, consoling one another with the knowledge that it's over, it's over -- thank God, it's over. [...] Compared to the honest hard labor performed by tens of millions of Americans every day, a film critic's job is like a winning lottery ticket. But there IS work involved, and it can be painful -- and the next time someone tells me I have the best job in the world, I'm going to grab them by the ear, fourth-grade-teacher-in-1966-style, and drag them to see Deck the Halls."
The film was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards:
- Worst Excuse For Family Entertainment
- Worst Supporting Actor (Danny DeVito)
- Worst Supporting Actress (Kristin Chenoweth).
The film grossed $35.1 million in North America and $12.1 million in other territories for a total of $47.2 million, against a budget of $51 million, making it a box office bomb where it only earned back 91.8% of its total budget.
The film grossed $12 million in its opening weekend, finishing 4th at the box office.