Deck the Halls is a 2006 Christmas comedy film directed by John Whitesell and starring Matthew Broderick and Danny Devito
Matthew Broderick stars as Dr. Steve Finch, an eye doctor with a wife, Kelly (Kristin Davis) and two children, a teenaged daughter named Madison (Alia Shawcat), and a preteen son named Carter (Dylan Blue). Steve is adamant about his Christmas traditions, even to the point of it doing more harm than good for his family and everybody else involved. His Christmas tradition plans start spiraling down the tubes when his new neighbor, Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) along with his wife, Tia (Kristin Chenoweth) and two twin daughters Emily (Kelly Aldridge) and Ashley (Sabrina Aldridge) move in to the only home just across the street. Buddy's daughters have discovered and show him that you can view houses from space with a place called "My Earth" which is very much like "Google Earth." He is upset, though, that for some reason, their house doesn't appear, even though the Finches house does. It could be that their house has not been there very long and there never was a new satellite picture update taken of that place since. So, contrary to ones who would prefer privacy and that their homes remain unable to be captured by satellite, Buddy gets this obsession about wanting to get their house visible from space. So, Buddy gets this crazy idea that to get their house visible from space, he would have to garnish their home with Christmas lights. From that point on, because of how the bright lights and his whole showy Christmas display he goes as far as gets to Steve and even worse disrupt his intended Christmas traditions, things go for the worse between Buddy and Steve even to the point of practically wrecking their relationship as new neighbors. And much to their annoyed wives the only question is will they ever be able to patch that up?
Deck the Halls provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absurdly Bright Light: The main plot of the film is set forth when Buddy wants to decorate his house with enough lights to be seen from space.
- Berserk Button: When Steve is putting up with Buddy's lights and music just across the street during sleeping hours, it gets to the point where he finally goes downtown in the middle of the night to purchase illegal fireworks so he could set them off at Buddy's house hoping to scare him witless. Later on, he manages to end up destroying his own home with the last of the fireworks after managing to set some off at Buddy's house as planned, he discovers that Buddy was not even home when all of that happened, because Tia had walked out on him that night over being aggravated at him primarily for pawning a valuable heirloom of hers to pay off his lights and show, and Buddy spent all night at where she went trying to get her attention.
- Apathetic Citizens: A particularly egregious example. Aside from Steve's family, no one is seemingly bothered at all by Buddy's obnoxious display, even after he intentionally ramps it Up to Eleven to stick it to Steve. Even then, Steve's family isn't affected by all the lights or noise either. Hell, Steve doesn't do anything when he finds out Buddy is stealing his power, he makes no effort to really stop it. The last two could be Justified by the rest of Steve's family getting on well enough with Buddy's and tolerating it and Steve just giving up on competing with Buddy any further, but the first example goes unexplained.
- Steve Finch.
- Buddy Hall is under Steve's revengeful tactics.
- The Cameo: Jackie Burroughs, who played Hetty King in the Avonlea series, briefly appears in the beginning and several other scenes as Mrs. Ryor.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If any of the characters had filed proper charges against the other, the plot would have ended much easily at multiple points in the film:
- Steve does go to file a proper complaint about the lights to the police, but leaves right as Sheriff Dave is grabbing the paperwork because he got uncomfortable looking at the Sheriff's thong. Alternatively, he could have reported the possible theft of power from his house.
- Buddy could have charged Steve with willful destruction of property for short-circuiting his fusebox with snow. He doesn't due to wanting to get back at Steve personally.
- Steve could have had Buddy arrested for Forging his name on a document and stealing the town's Christmas tree, but doesn't due to his pride blinding him as Buddy convinces him to make a wager on a race.
- Curse Cut Short: In front of a bunch of people, Buddy announces that even as bright as he has already made his house, that he is nowhere near done. Steve responds with "Oh really!? Jesus!" Then with the whole town looking at him like he is a straight man of integrity who just cursed and with him getting that feeling, he instantly covers it up with saying "Christ the Lord is born this Christmas morning." Making it look like he was singing it as a compliment. This could also be considered as Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Tia needs help putting up a decoration, she asks for a boost from Kelly who does so with her hands on Tia's butt. Tia seems to enjoy it a little too much.
- Karma Houdini: Played with; Steve and Buddy both eventually come back to their senses and make everything up to their families, but both now have extensive criminal records on their hands with both having disrupted the neighborhood, caused massive amounts of property damage, and on Buddy's end has committed acts of theft and forgery just to sabotage Steve. Both are let off scot-free.
- Just Eat Gilligan: At one point Finch is suspects Hall is stealing his power to, well, power his massive Christmas Lights display, as he keeps getting power surges and the like. Much later in the film, he goes to look at his fuse box and, sure enough, there's a huge plug with a cord running to Hall's house. Why he didn't think to simply walk around and check his fuse box before then is a mystery (the cord is obscured by the snow, explaining why he didn't see it, but that still doesn't explain the first part.)
- Ms. Fanservice: Buddy's wife and twin daughters definitely count as such; lampshaded by Steve's son.
- Over-the-Top Christmas Decorations: Buddy Hall's goal is to have his Christmas light display seen from space.
- Too Dumb to Live: Mrs. Ryor, when Steve is speeding towards her in an out-of-control sleigh, just stands there and waits for it to crash into her rather than move (or attempt to) out of the way like any person with half a brain.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Sheriff Dave is shown to enjoy wearing ladies' undergarments.
- Wilhelm Scream: Overheard when Buddy's house of lights is finally visible from space, overloading the display screens of the watching TV news crew.