Danny Deckchair Movie Review

In the game of life, Danny Morgan (Rhys Ifans) is a checkers piece sitting on a chess board. At his construction site job, he spends more time in the cement mixer than he does on the girders. His solution to just about any problem, no matter how complicated, is to hold a pancake breakfast. And his current dream in life is to tie multiple helium balloons to his deckchair to see if he can get off the ground.

Danny Deckchair is an unchallenging romantic comedy that begins with its quirky character's balloon-and-chair experiment but never flies as high as the film's leading man. Writer/director Jeff Balsmeyer injects his script with the universal desire to fit in, to be accepted despite one's obvious faults. It's familiar territory and relatively harmless, for sure, but it's also humorless and lacking in those all important grains of logical sense.

After floating out of his yard in Sydney, Danny sets down miles from home in the Aussie farming community of Clarence. He abruptly crash lands in Glenda's (Miranda Otto) backyard, and the lovely but lonely traffic cop makes excuses for her strange visitor when the townsfolk come around asking questions.

In no time flat, Danny charms the entire village while simultaneously becoming a media sensation back in Sydney. Danny's adventure lets several people play make believe for a few days. His abandoned girlfriend, Trudy (Justine Clarke), gets the attention she long thought she deserved. Meanwhile, Danny's zany ideas, which fell on deaf ears in his old home, click with his new neighbors. A pancake breakfast can't be far behind.

As if you couldn't tell by its premise, Deckchair borders on surreal but is content to stay that way. Balsmeyer bends more than a few rom-com rules to keep his daydream afloat. Clear-headed viewers not willing to wholeheartedly swallow the fairy tale romance might ask themselves why Glenda would lie to her neighbors for this stranger, who literally dropped from the sky into her life. Glenda's not exactly a witch, so why is the town so shocked that she'd have a male caller? They'd sooner believe that a guy riding a deckchair could land on her porch. Good thing one does. And how come the news reports that flood the televisions telling of Danny's disappearance fail to include any decent headshots of the missing man?

The actors aren't asked to deliver too much. Ifans comes across as subdued for what we're led to believe is an unpredictable bloke. Both leading ladies, though, are very good. Clarke's eyes sell a spark between Danny and Trudy that burned much brighter when these characters were younger pups, and Otto's the type of girl-next-door you root for when love is on the line.

Those who really take to Deckchair will appreciate it for all the things it doesn't have. There are no gratuitous sex scenes, there's very little swearing (if any), and one quick punch is dished out by Danny to Trudy's new beau. There's an entire audience out there who don't go to movies anymore because they feel Hollywood has strayed too far from telling a sweet story with likable characters and a happy, but predictable, ending. Deckchair welcomes that crowd back to theaters, and awaits their return with open arms.

Look ma, top of the world!

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Comments

Aussie1's picture

Aussie1

This person clearly is limited in culture. If you aren't willing to open your eyes and enjoy the Aussie culture then this movie isn't for you.This movie is hilarious and light entertain but maybe difficult if you haven't travelled to the land of Oz or interacted with any Australians.This movie is a must see if you would like to learn more about life in a small town in Australia and have a good laugh.

7 years 11 months ago
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Danny Deckchair Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG-13, 2003

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