Danny DeVito and his sparring partner Matthew Broderick go to war with chaotic but hilarious consequences. DeVito, who's new to the area, sets out to create the gaudiest, most flamboyant light display for miles around. But Broderick, the town's 'Mr. Christmas', is traditional and conservative – and intends to sabotage the efforts of the 'tasteless' family across the street.
Deck the Halls revolves around jealousy and one-upmanship between two fathers, Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) and Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) who have diametrically opposed personalities and very different ideas about Christmas. Their houses reflect their clashing characters. The house belonging to Matthew Broderick and Kristin Davis' character is elegant and ordered. Danny DeVito's character and his wife, played by Kristin Chenoweth, move with their two children into the messy, unkempt rental house across the street. The spirit of Christmas appears to be forgotten in this New England town, when loud mouthed, exuberant Buddy Hall starts to get ready for the festive season. His views on seasonal decorations come down to this: the bigger and the more flamboyant, the better. As he embarks on a highly ambitious project to create the most extravagant light display that has ever been seen in the area, he appalls his highly conservative neighbor across the road. While Danny DeVito's Buddy believes in ostentatious clashing colors, complete with plastic Santas and nodding reindeer, Broderick's Steve Matthew prefers subtlety in ever sense of the word – from simple wreaths and tasteful bougainvilleas, to harmonious carol singers. He is the town's 'Mr. Christmas' and when De Vito threatens his well ordered, rigorously structured winter festivities; he is incensed and outright war breaks out.
"The film is all about two approaches to Christmas," says director John Whitesell. "Matthew's approach is very staid. Everything has to be just right and perfect, preserving strict and strident traditions, versus the gregarious Danny DeVito who loves the over the top, big time celebration and the lights become the battleground. DeVito's character Buddy sees his lights display as a way to make him special and get him self esteem. But Matthew likes to run the winter fest and keep control, doing everything his way. They both have to learn about the spirit of Christmas."
"We're at a crucial point in the film which combines broad comedy with some home truths about what really matters in communities and families. For most of this very funny movie, however, it seems like Buddy and Steve are destined to be sworn enemies. The stark contrast in their temperaments and personalities lead to dramatic comic clashes," continues Whitesell.
"Everybody knows somebody in their street who goes overboard with lights. Danny's character wants his house to be visible from space. But I think the characters have to find out during the course of the film, that Christmas isn't about lights and decorations," says director John Whitesell, "It's about family and the people you love. It is about celebrating together rather than everything else which is trivial." Christmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill – but when it comes to neighbors – there is never any guarantee of peaceful relations. Rivalry, competition and a major clash of taste have disastrous and hilarious results as De Vito's and Broderick's characters battle it out in the new comedy Deck the Halls from 20th Century Fox be distributed by Warner Bros. in local theaters.