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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Danny Deckchair
Danny Deckchair
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // PG-13 // December 21, 2004
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Daniel W. Kelly | posted January 25, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
Australian film Danny Deckchair is a charming, cute, funny love story about a Down Under, down-on-his-luck guy who gets a chance to fly to new heights—literally.

The Story:
Scrubby looking cement man Danny Morgan (Rhys Ifans) has hit rock bottom (And not because he looks like Chris Elliott in Get a Life). He can barely get work, and now, he's all ready to go on holiday with his girlfriend, Trudy (Justine Clark), but she blows off his camping trip for work. At least, that's what she says. He soon discovers her "work" involves handsome sportscaster Sandy Upman (Rhys Muldoon. Yes, there are TWO actors in this movie named Rhys. The likelihood is even mentioned in the commentary).

Totally depressed, Danny comes up with a crazy idea—something usually reserved for the overactive imaginations of children. Would he float off into the clouds if he tied a load of huge yellow helium balloons to a deckchair? He soon finds out when he has a bunch of friends over for a barbecue…and accidentally shoots off into the sky! When he finally lands, he's somewhere over the rainbow, in a little town far from home. It's a chance to start a new life. He cleans up (nicely) and begins falling in love with local girl Glenda (Miranda Otto). And he brings life into the small town, helping a local politician campaign, and charming all the locals. Meanwhile, to the rest of the country, he's become a missing hero and inspiration, and the world is on the hunt for him. In order to go from sportsman to real newsman, Sandy has gotten closer to Trudy, and is hoping that together, they will find Trudy's missing boyfriend so he will have his first huge news story. So naturally, it's only a matter of time before Danny Deckchair's old life comes crashing down on his new one.

The premise of the loser accidentally floating off on a deckchair of balloons sounds like it's going to be some real goofball movie in the tradition of Dumb and Dumber. But that's so far from the case here. The deckchair concept is simply a unique way to create an age old scenario—unhappy person changes identity and soul searches while in new surroundings, falls in love, and then has their past come back to bite them in the butt. It's been done before, yet, as usual, it puts a smile on your face. While nothing incredibly new, this cute little film is sure to be enjoyed by those who give it a glance. It's lighthearted, it's funny, and the cast is incredibly likeable, with the standout performance being by Miranda Otto as love interest Glenda.

The DVD

Video:
The DVD has an 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. The picture is crisp and clear if not slightly affected by edge enhancement. The color levels are rich, but occasionally, the skin tones are too pale. During indoor shots, the blacks could be a tad darker, but they are fine outside and add nice contrast. The print is mostly clean, with just a spec of dust here and there. Overall, this is a nice prsentation. I also noticed a brutal hiccup 58 minutes into the movie, ripe with pixilation breakup—DURING dialogue. I can only hope there was a defect in my review copy.

Sound:
You have the options of 5.1 or 2.0. The 5.1 is full & rich, with excellent travel, astounding all around sound experience and deep bass response. The only real issue is that dialogue from the center speaker is a hint muddy!

Extras:
Subtites come in either English or Spanish. Scene Selection offers 24 chapter breaks. Extras are:

THEATRICAL TRAILER—the movie transfer itself is much cleaner. This trailer is fuzzy & bland, with a rather muffled audio track.

TRAILER GALLERY—previews of four more films.

MAKING OF—the cast and crew discuss story, characters, filming, location, stunts, and balloon effects. While only 20 minutes long, this documentary manages to show a whole load of clips from the movie.

COMMENTARY with writer/director Jeff Balsmeyer and actor Rhys Ifans—these two know how to do a commentary. They are well aware they are talking to an audience, and address listeners constantly as they discuss details of the filmmaking process, the other actors in the film, and go on interesting anecdotal tangents.

Final Thoughts:
Danny Deckchair is not a wacky Australian film about a burnout who flies away on a deckchair tied to balloons. It's a warmhearted comedy about a burnout who flies away on a deckchair tied to balloons and discovers a new life when he lands. Baring that in mind, give it a go if your looking for a fun film to brighten your day.

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