Deck the Halls 

Matthew Broderick's new holiday film is a lot more "Fa la la la la" than "Ha ha ha." Holiday movies have been getting worse since the early 1990s, and this title isn't going to buck the trend. Among today's movie genres, Christmas equals crap.

Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) has just moved in next door to Steve Finch (Broderick). A car salesman with zero couth, Buddy struggles to find his niche, finally deciding on having the best holiday light display, which upsets Steve, the town's reigning "Christmas guy." Though their families befriend one another, the two men develop a fiery rivalry that erupts into sabotage and childish pranks.

You know these characters Steve and Buddy pretty well already. Steve is the same guy Broderick played in The Cable Guy and Election: a well-to-do simpleton who, through extenuating circumstances, comes out looking like a jerk. DeVito's Buddy is EVERY role he's ever played: an underhanded weasel who nobody likes but is somehow still charming.

Director John Whitesell, whose credits include Big Momma's House 2 and Malibu's Most Wanted, seems adept at creating films that feature big-name actors and jump straight to the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Deck the Halls is no exception.

Yes, Christmas equals crap nowadays. But it wasn't always this way. If it's Christmas classics you crave, bypass the new-release rack and find yourself the ones with Ralphy or the Griswolds. They may not have been any more high-brow, but at least they were funny.

These videos courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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