Deck the Halls

Christmas comedy is lacking in laughs

The Orlando SentinelNovember 24, 2006 

Does anybody in Hollywood celebrate Christmas any more? You've got to wonder, with the woeful Christmas fare they've hurled at us the past few years. The closest most of these dopes get to the holiday is catching old Chevy Chase comedies on TV.

"Deck the Halls" is another "Christmas With the Kranks" (without the attempted wit and message), and yet more treacle in the celebration-gone-amok "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" genre.

An over-organized optometrist (Matthew Broderick) organizes his annual "Christmas traditions" for his family of four in his idealized, postcard-pretty town, Cloverdale, Mass.

And then, a burned-out car salesman (Danny DeVito) and his trashy brood (Broadway's Kristin Chenoweth is making this a specialty, after "RV") move in across the street.

This is a mean-spirited Christmas comedy without the guts to be mean. Broderick and DeVito, on-the-nose casting decisions, don't dial it up enough to make this into a battle royale.

Neither actor appears to have been directed at all, and you could say the same about the movie.

The promise of Chenoweth singing a Christmas carol in the finale shouldn't be enough to drag your family away from one turkey to sit before another.

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