Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Deck the Halls

Hello everybody! I hope your day has been merry and bright. Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever, where we’re going through and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies ever made. And, honestly, today’s movie definitely has earned that spot. Let’s get to it.

Remember when I said that Christmas with the Kranks was hard to watch because I didn’t want to root for a couple of jerks? Well, Deck the Halls took that formula and ran with it. This one is so much worse. For those who don’t know, Deck the Halls is about two neighbors, played by Matthew Broderick and Danny Devito, fighting after one of them decides he wants to build a Christmas display that’s visible from space. Yep, it’s the whole neighborly rivalry thing again. Isn’t this plot completely played out at this point? Like how often do we have to see this? Even the Christmas lights thing has been done to death. There’s not enough new material here to fill a twenty minute sitcom episode, let alone an entire feature film. Plus, neither of these guys are likeable in the slightest. They constantly are doing despicable things to each other without having even a hint of empathy. Like, you’ve got to at least give them some kind of relatable motivation. “Because I want to” doesn’t really cut it. 

I’ve also got to apologize for criticizing Christmas with the Kranks’ jokes as harshly as I did. Sure, they were sophomoric and aiming for the lowest common denominator, but at least they made sense in the context of the movie. Deck the Halls is willinging to throw its plot away completely for a bad, lazy gag. Wouldn’t it be funny if Broderick ripped the doors off of his car? I mean… not particularly. Also, what does that have to do with anything? What if we had the guys catcall a couple of attractive women and then they turn out to be their daughters? What? No. That adds nothing to the story. It’s not funny. And, it wouldn’t have been cool if they were catcalling anyone really. Yeah, that joke feels like it was written by a couple of creepy ass boomers. It’s only one of several moments where the attractiveness of these teenage girls is the butt of the joke. They straight up infer that these teenage girls, their daughters are sleeping around. It’s quite insane. But, it’s definitely not the bit that’s aged the worst. Nope. That belongs to a completely out of nowhere, completely random, and insensitive gag about how the police captain in a crossdresser. Broderick’s character goes to the police station to file a report. While talking to him, he notices that the man is wearing a bra and panties. He reacts in horror and runs away. That’s it. That’s the joke. Because apparently a man wearing women’s underwear is the funniest thing the writers could think of. How exactly is this movie only 14 years old, but feels like it was written in the 60s?

Speaking of dated, the early 2000’s understanding of technology is so funny. The whole reason Danny DeVito’s character becomes obsessed with these Christmas lights is because his house isn’t visible on Google Earth. Which, as we know, isn’t a live feed. They take those pictures once every couple of years. Also, the finale revolves around how precious and cute it is that everyone uses their phones instead of waving flames in the air during a musical performance. You know, something we do every single day now. These aren’t really criticisms of the movie per se. I just found it funny watching so many years later.

And, well, that’s all I really have to say about Deck the Halls. Sorry this write up is so short. Honestly, it felt like I was just repeating myself from my write-up for Christmas with the Kranks. They feel very similar to me. Both are lazy, unfunny comedies about a couple of jerks feuding with their neighbors around Christmas time. Both came out around the same time. Both wasted immensely talented and funny casts. They’re almost the same. Honestly, I’ve got to stop thinking about them or they’re going to become one massive disaster in my head. But, it’s almost impossible to pick which one is worse. I want to say Deck the Halls. But, then, I remember the Botox scene from Christmas with the Kranks. But, there’s the catcalling. But the snowman. But the fireworks going off in the house. But the tanning. I don’t know. I can’t call it. They’re both just so bad.

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