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90 Second Movie Review: Deck the Halls

Rich Cerow

Disaster inevitable?
Wasn't the one-upping your neighbor's lighting scheme an episode of Home Improvement a few years ago? And now this idea is stretched out from 22 minutes to a feature-length film? Don't get me wrong; I think Danny DeVito is a delight, and at Christmastime, I'd love to have a hook implanted in his head so I can hang him from my tree as my prized ornament (Matthew Broderick, in his post-Ferris Bueller career, however, I can take or leave. He clearly peaked with War Games). I desperately hope that at some point in this movie, in between all the hijinks that befall Matthew Broderick's character, Danny has to hide in a nativity scene dressed up as the little Baby Jesus while gangsters chase him. Maybe it could even be one of those classy nativity scenes, and there's a live lamb that he needs to shoo away from licking his face while the gangsters are right in front of them, befuddled at where he could have slipped off to. And he's all dressed up in swaddling clothes, looking like the vision of the ugliest baby you've ever seen, with a little lamb licking all over his mug. Of course, he gets away from the gangsters, but when he gets up a nun has come over to look at the manger and she is aghast to find him lying there. So he's gotta yelp out a "Sorry, Sister!" before taking off with his flowing robes trailing him. And maybe, for some reason, he took his pants off to fit in the Baby Jesus' clothes, so the nun gets a shot of his butt peeking out from beneath those robes. But she's the frisky nun, and rather than being appaled at this site, she gives a devilish grin, and maybe winks at the camera. And then Danny DeVito's tiny, munchkin self is off on another zany adventure to reroute a satelitte so it can beam pure sunlight on his refelctive, 30 foot tall Santa at night, blinding that uptight Broderick across the street when he's got the big Peppercorn meeting in the morning. It's the biggest account of his career, and he's gotta get some sleep. So he decides to blow up the Santa with dynamite, which sends it off like a rocket into space. Then we cut to the desperate streets of Moscow, where it crash lands on some old lady's bread cart.

What your girlfriend will think of you if you take her to see Deck the Halls: That you're doing research for your thesis paper, Masters of the Universe: Masters of Storytelling, and you want to prove that all Christmas-themed entertainment since has merely been a pale imitation of the classic He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special, in which the magic of Christmas was brought to the denizens of Eternia, and even Skeletor learned that sometimes it is better to give than to receive. Which reminds me - someone should get on the ball and buy my long-gestating He-Man Christmas Carol script, featuring Skeletor as Ebeneezer Scrooge and He-Man as the Bob Cratchit who cuts down his chains via the Power of Greyskull and beats the spirit of Chritmas into his employer. Beast Man has the juicy role of Jacob Marley, and Orko plays Tiny Tim. Eventually they all reconcile over a Christmas Roast Battle Cat.

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