Optometrist Steve Finch loves those Christmas traditions he has set up with his family and his town. As such, he has a schedule of activities for his family starting on December 1st, and is the official unofficial consultant for anything Christmas related in his town of Cloverdale, Massachusetts. During the Christmas season, the Halls move in to the house across the street from the Finch's. The Halls in general are different in outlook and temperament than the Finches. Unlike Steve, Buddy Hall scams his way through life and never follows through with anything he starts. While Kelly Finch and Tia Hall - Steve's wife and Buddy's wife respectively - and their children begin friendships based largely on those differences, Steve and Buddy butt heads based on those differences. It begins with Buddy striving to have his house seen from outer space by decorating it as lavishly and brightly as possible. One of the results of Buddy's task his that he becomes the new go to guy for anything ... Written by
To put it briefly, this was an entertaining movie, gave me a number of laughs and was also extremely stupid and insulting to anyone's intelligence. But, if you look at it strictly as a farce, it will do for a 90-minute diversion. Just don't take any of the characters seriously and try not to get annoyed - which isn't easy - at the typical comedy clichés that are in this movie. And - as some others have pointed out - do not watch this with your kids; it's not "family fare."
Many of the dumb "Hollywood stereotypes" you've endured in comedies the last few decades are in this film. A few examples: the obnoxious kids who say clever things; the typical family story where the men are made to look stupid while the women are smart and sensible; one guy who is a total crook is pictured as sympathetic; things happen in minutes that would take days to occur, unnecessary sex jokes, on and on. Yet, through it all, there are some funny lines of dialog and the Christmas lights on Danny DeVito's house are great fun to see.
This comedy also reminded me a lot of "What, About Bob?" as DeVito slowly drives neighbor Matthew Broderick almost crazy as Bill Murray did to Richard Dreyfuss. I'm told it also was like the National Lampoon's Christmas Story but I never saw that.
What was very interesting were two five-minute featurettes which came with the DVD. In it, is explained and shown how the movie makers built the two houses from scratch, put in all the incredible lights and light show and how it was made to look dark. The story takes place in a mythical town in Massachusetts (where nobody in the film, by the way, has an accent!) but was filmed in Vancouver in July where they were only getting six hours of darkness per night. Most of the film takes place at night so they also built as 60-foot high ark-like building over the two big houses! Incredible!
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