Review by Steve Rhodes|
3 stars out of 4
DANNY DECKCHAIR is a real sweetheart of an adult fairy tale from the Land Down
Under. This quirky comedy is something of a NOTTING HILL meets THE LORD OF THE
RINGS since it features actors NOTTING HILL's Rhys Ifans and THE LORD OF THE
RINGS's Miranda Otto playing a pair of unlikely lovers. It's the type of
good-spirited comedy that has the whole audience going "ohhhhhhh" in unison
when their romance briefly goes astray.
Danny Morgan (Ifans) is a restless man who, with his scruffy beard and his long
stringy hair, looks like a hermit. He is a bored concrete truck driver who
spends most of his time stuck on Sydney's roadways, going nowhere, an apt
metaphor for his marriage to Trudy (Justine Clarke). Trudy is an ambitious
real estate agent, whose ambitions center on her desire to have an affair with
Sandy Upman (Rhys Muldoon), a good-looking TV weatherman.
With one failed scheme after another -- like the time he tried to turn himself
into a human slingshot -- Danny tries to inject a little excitement into his
mundane existence. One bright idea of his, however, works beyond his wildest
dreams. Attaching balloons to his deckchair (a.k.a. lawn chair), he finds that
he can float, not just a little bit, but way up into the heavens where a big
storm is brewing.
Danny's journey out of this world into a better one turns him into a national
celebrity, which means that all of the camera crews and reporters spend their
time turning Trudy into one too. "Where did he go," the reporters want to
know, "and why did he do it?" This loss of her husband and the notoriety it
brings makes her one of the happiest and most sought after women in the
country. She is the center of attention, and she loves it.
Meanwhile up in the sky, Danny ends up descending rapidly. He drops straight
into the yard and the life of Glenda Lake (Otto), a meter maid in the remote,
small town of Clarence. Everyone in town knows everyone else, and everyone
knows that no one likes Glenda, the town's reigning wallflower. But --
surprise -- under Danny's glow, she blossoms into a real beauty. "You scrub up
well," Big Jim Craig (Anthony Phelan), Clarence's best known businessman, tells
her when he sees her with makeup on and wearing a revealing dress.
With the professor in residence -- which is what Glenda tells the locals that
Danny is -- the whole town begins to come alive. In the movie's funniest
episode, Darren Kehole (Angus King) decides he will start posing in the nude so
that the town's female artists-to-be, of which there seem to be an inordinately
large number, can have something to paint. He keeps them in streams of
giggles, as he attempts various poses not found in most classical paintings.
The movie, which is on the PG-side of PG-13, keeps all of this very chaste and
Will Danny have to give up the happiness that he's found in Clarence or will
his big city woes eventually engulf him again? Trust in the power of the happy
DANNY DECKCHAIR runs a breezy 1:30. The film is in easy to understand
Australian without the need of American subtitles. It is rated PG-13 for
"sex-related situations" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes