Projections - Movie Reviews

Danny Deckchair

Starring Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Justine Clarke, Rhys Muldoon,
John Batchelor, Alan Flower, Jules Sobotta, Brian Langsworth

Danny Deckchair stars the usually reliable Rhys Ifans, known for his scene-stealing supporting stints in films like Notting Hill and The Shipping News. But Jeff Balsmeyer’s comedy is a gentile romancer running mostly on hot air.

Ifans is Danny, a scruffy Sydney masoner living an unambitious life who busts out of his doldrums by tying many large helium balloons to a lawn chair. The movie eventually becomes something Capra-esque or like Frank Darabont’s The Majestic, a little too tepid and clumsily told.

It seems Danny’s live-in girlfriend Trudy (Justine Clarke) might be cheating on him with a handsome local TV broadcaster (Rhys Muldoon) to help her move up the ladder as a real-estate agent. An old buddy, Phil (Duncan Young), doesn’t think Danny has what it takes to make a pancake breakfast a success. Danny gets negative vibes from Trudy’s reaction to wanting to go on a camping trip and would rather be up, up and away, though he doesn’t think it could really happen.

Danny Deckchair wants to make us feel the transformation of Danny, so Balsmeyer (an American living in Sydney) has a thunderstorm quickly enlightening him with his arrival into the northern Australian tropical town of Clarence. At least the film becomes watch-able with the presence of Miranda Otto as Glenda, a meter maid, who might be in the right frame of mind to be more than a comforting presence for someone like Danny. When the weather clears, the excursion is cut short by a fireworks extravaganza that lands Danny right in Glenda’s backyard.

But, the story just can’t support the loftier aspirations of love and inspiration for the denizens by doing something worthwhile like ascending telephone poles. The weak premise catches up with the plot after his idea of a pancake breakfast finds favor with an aspiring political candidate. Otto (the brave Eowyn from the last two Lord of The Rings films) and Ifans show more than a hint of sparkle under Balsmeyer’s often lazy direction which conjures up a little of that magic realism illuminated by Tim Burton in Big Fish.

However, the way Danny’s disappearance is tied into the charismatic, clean-shaven man (posing as Glenda’s professor) has some accidental blasts of warmth. Yet, Danny Deckchair floats too safely into convention, and it’s a formula doesn’t quite pay off.

Danny Deckchair

Home | Search | Reviewer Bios | Links | Mail Us
Copyright © 2005 Projections