Deck the Halls

Movie review by
Jane Boursaw, Common Sense Media
Deck the Halls Movie Poster Image
Makes us miss those Home Alone days...
  • PG
  • 2006
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Rivalry between neighbors completely negates the spirit of the season.

Positive role models & representations

A dad enlists his son's help to sabotage the neighbors' display; a teenage daughter is rebellious.

Violence

Rife with mean-spirited slapstick humor: an older woman gets hit with a snowball, knocking her over; a rocket backfires, setting a Christmas tree on fire in a living room; a gas can tips over and sets a Christmas tree lot on fire; a sleigh crashes through an ice-covered pond.

Sex

Women dressed in skimpy elf costumes shake their booties (one ends up being Steve's daughter -- which he finds out after he yells a sexually tinged remark at her); a 10-year-old boy ogles his sexy teen neighbors; two naked men end up in a sleeping bag together.

Language

Pretty mild: "Ass," "damn."

Consumerism

Chrysler, Troy-Bilt chain saw.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids may actually be the only ones interested in seeing this predictable, mean-spirited, slapstick-heavy Christmas movie. It's filled with sexual innuendo, bad behavior, and grown-ups acting like kids (worse than kids, actually). With so many other, better options out there, don't bother.

User Reviews

Adult Written bymmh April 9, 2008

Very degrading image of women.

Not a family movie at all! Very degrading image of women. If the sexual things were ommitted it could have been good a good family movie. NOT a PG movie at al...
Adult Written bymotherto2 April 9, 2008

Not a family movie.

This was degrading at worst and pure drivel at best. Many sexual references, most not easily overlooked. Some examples are the kid ogling the neighbor's ol...
Kid, 11 years old July 13, 2009

I love it!

This is in my top 5 for holiday movies. I have only seen it once, but remember every bit of it because of how great it was.
Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe November 24, 2013

Funny, silly Christmas movie

This is the silliest Christmas movie I've seen (though "Home Alone" is better than this). I liked the scene where Sheriff Dave is wearing ladies...

What's the story?

Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) is a nice-guy optometrist, living in the picturesque town of Cloverdale, Mass., with his loving wife Kelly (Kristin Davis), rebellious teen daughter Madison (Alia Shawkat), and 10-year-old son, Carter (Dylan Blue). Steve's known as "The Christmas Guy". He loves the holiday and goes all out every year -- decorating, caroling, tree-trimming, and organizing the annual family photo (with matching sweaters, of course). Everything is peachy-keen in Steve's neat, organized world, complete with a wall calendar to keep things on track. Then Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) moves into the house across the street with his lovely wife Tia (Kristin Chenoweth) and shapely daughters Ashley and Emily (real-life twins Sabrina and Kelly Aldridge of 8th and Ocean). Buddy's a likeable guy, but he feels invisible, which makes him want to put up a mammoth Christmas display bright enough to see from outer space. It's his chance to be somebody. So up go thousands of lights, giant Santas, snowmen, synchronized music, and even live animals -- including a donkey, camel, cow, and sheep. It's all too much for Steve, who feels threatened and fights back, enlisting help from his son to thwart Buddy's efforts.

Is it any good?

There's no doubt that Broderick and DeVito are formidable actors, but they aren't given much to work with here. The movie deteriorates into a farce of slapstick humor and crude humor, as Steve and Buddy's competitive nature comes to a head in a predictable finale about discovering the true meaning of Christmas, blah blah blah. On the "why bother?" holiday movie scale, it ranks right down there with Surviving Christmas.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what's important during the holidays -- spending time with friends and family, or trying to outdo the neighbors. If Buddy felt "invisible," what could Steve have done to make him feel better? Likewise, what better choice could Buddy have made to be "somebody"? Who are the real grown-ups in this movie? Why do so many Christmas movies focus on themes like competition and materialism? Does that accurately reflect society's perspective on the holiday?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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