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Overall Rating
3.81

Awesome39.19%
Worth A Look: 22.97%
Just Average: 27.03%
Pretty Crappy: 1.35%
Sucks: 9.46%

4 reviews, 50 user ratings


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Danny Deckchair
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by Jay Seaver

"Lighter than air."
3 stars

Funny how this one just dropped off the radar - two months ago, Landmark Theaters was pushing it with a contest and promos in front of absolutely every movie they played, but when it finally arrived in Boston, it not only didn't play the Kendall Square, but just Copley Place. After one week, it was sharing a screen with Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies. And to add insult to injury, Superbabies got the 7pm show, leaving Danny Deckchair with only one 9:30pm showtime. Though not much more than a pleasant romantic comedy, Danny Deckchair deserves better than that.

"Pleasant" is probably the best word to describe Danny Deckchair. The story, in which a man floats away from his home after tying forty-odd balloons to a lawn chair, is based on an actual event, although I doubt Larry Walters wound up landing in the back yard of a single woman who would be a much better fit for him than his current girlfriend when he pulled this stunt in real life. The characters are likable, even the ones stuck with the usually thankless task of being the obstacles between Danny (Rhys Ifans) and Glenda (Miranda Otto).

Writer/director Jeff Balsmeyer is occasionally guilty of stretching a somewhat lightweight story - a subplot about a state parliament race seems to exist for no reason than to keep Danny occupied long enough that he doesn't seem to be callously tossing long-time girlfriend Trudy (Justine Clarke) aside as soon as he meets Glenda. He also misses some obvious bits of the plat, as the question of why Danny makes no attempt to assure Trudy or his friends that he's all right is flat-out ignored. The end is a little obvious and drawn-out.

To Mr. Balsmeyer's credit, his previous work as a storyboard artist serves him well in terms of telling the story visually. When we first see Glenda, for instance, she's watching a fireworks display that's part of her hometown of Clarence's "Macadamia Festival"... alone, in her backyard, surrounded by hedges on all sides. That one shot tells us all we need to know about her without saying a word. Similarly, the establishing shots of Clarence show the town surrounded by trees, implying the disconnection from the Sydney suburb where Danny took off but also a bright, cozy small town where everybody knows everybody else. There are several other examples of his skill at using physical space rather than words to make points.

He's also got a nice cast. Rhys Ifans is probably best known for playing skinny goofballs, though he's not as skinny here as he is in earlier films. Still a goof, though, all restless and nervous energy when he's stuck at home during a planned camping holiday. Miranda Otto is probably best known in the States as Eowyn in the latter two Lord of the Rings movies and Human Nature (where she was also paired with Ifans). She reminds me a little of Julianne Moore's understated beauty, and is winning as a woman seeming to just now remember how to enjoy life. Justine Clarke probably has the trickiest character, as Trudy is somewhat superficial, wanting a more glamorous life than her goofball construction-worker boyfriend will ever be interested in. As much as she clearly enjoys her newfound fame when Danny floats off, and more-than-flirts with the reporter covering the story, she never becomes the story's villain, and still cares about Danny.

Danny Deckchair is a sweet, air-filled marshmallow of a movie. Its Aussie accent works in its favor; set this movie in America and maybe its relaxed, colorful characters seem nave, as ridiculous a stereotype as that may be. It makes for a fun movie, though.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7700&reviewer=371
originally posted: 09/09/04 12:48:37
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/26/09 Dan I stumbled across this and could not keep from digging it. Great B movie 5 stars
3/22/09 Ken Taylor I love this movie. It is a delightful fantasy. Bellington as a backdrop is wonderful. 5 stars
8/21/08 PAUL SHORTT AN ENTERTAINING FLIGHT OF FANCY 3 stars
9/21/07 Matt not bad 3 stars
7/03/07 Evan Yes, predictable; but the msg is a good one, the characters enguaging and it made me smile. 4 stars
11/17/06 bird so shines a beautiful movie in a weary world 5 stars
6/07/06 kevin its shit, waste of money and time 1 stars
5/28/06 Josaphene liana I live in the town it was shot in so exciting at the time i was actuallu an extra and so wa 5 stars
10/04/05 Mal Good fun! 5 stars
5/31/05 leinink Charming. Interesting characters. Loved it. 5 stars
4/26/05 LeeLee Barrett It was really good. very creative 4 stars
1/16/05 pussyfoot appalling waste of money and time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
1/13/05 Lance How desperate was the bit where he makes the speech? Unspeakably awful shite. 1 stars
12/27/04 efrain a heartfelt story. watch it if you have time. 4 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt A real feel good movie!!! 5 stars
5/29/04 Larry It's based on a tru story--look up Lawn Chair Larry on Google. 5 stars
5/13/04 i faijer Lovely!! 5 stars
4/18/04 M please dont bother people!!!! 1 stars
2/02/04 Chris Good Laugh..makes you want to get out of the City 5 stars
1/25/04 Alex Hosking Like the breath of fresh air that lifted Danny up, up and away. Don't miss it. 4 stars
1/01/04 sandra hill video- loved it- especially Rhys Ifens 5 stars
12/17/03 micky d loved it 5 stars
10/24/03 Ben Light but great fun 4 stars
9/09/03 rachael it was fuking awsome 5 stars
9/08/03 Emma Light-hearted and Different. Very Enjoyable! I'm not usually a fan of Aussie flicks either. 5 stars
9/02/03 Julie It was a good laugh- although too predictable 4 stars
8/27/03 Danielle good, better than i thought, not EXCELLENT 4 stars
8/23/03 Caela Rooney Great film 5 stars
8/17/03 Graham Not the best movie of the year, but the best feel-good I've seen for a while. 5 stars
8/16/03 Robin Grant Thorourghly Uplifting 5 stars
8/14/03 Paul Dempsey What a surprise another shit Australian film. Am I a sucker for punishment? 1 stars
8/14/03 Heather I loved it. It turned my blue day - pink 5 stars
8/10/03 Richard Briliant Australian should be a hit world wide. 5 stars
8/10/03 Lesley White Better than I thought it would be 4 stars
8/05/03 Mick Lacks republican wannabes therefore good 4 stars
8/05/03 Joel Bofinger Great movie although a lot of scenes have been cut from it. It was filmed in my town!!!! 4 stars
8/04/03 Sam light humour for all 5 stars
8/03/03 Greg Haye An insult to the intelligence - totally unfunny with holes you could drive a truck through 2 stars
8/02/03 Zak Really great movie! 5 stars
7/31/03 Double G CHAIR, WHY NOT ABOUT DESK 1 stars
7/25/03 Grant Burgess a great lighthearted comedy 5 stars
7/13/03 Patrick Ripsnorter Awesome, funny, cool 5 stars
7/12/03 Lemmy Pee-yew, what a stinkeroo! 1 stars
7/12/03 Anita Feel good movie l'd see more than once 4 stars
7/09/03 glen Good laugh for all 5 stars
7/08/03 pip hilarious, timeless romance 5 stars
7/04/03 Toby Very Funny, Feel good movie. 5 stars
7/03/03 Liz I was an extra too - definately a fun movie to see 5 stars
5/23/03 John movie outstanding 5 stars
5/23/03 Andrew Chambers i was an extra in the movie!its going to be big!!! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Aug-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  31-Jul-2003 (PG)


Directed by
  Jeff Balsmeyer

Written by
  Jeff Balsmeyer

Cast
  Rhys Ifans
  Miranda Otto
  Justine Clarke
  Rhys Muldoon
  Andrew Crabbe
  Angus King



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