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Danny Deckchair (PG-13) (2003)

20th Century Fox

Official Site

Director: Jeff Balsmeyer

Producers: Andrew Mason, Lizzie Bryant

Written by: Jeff Balsmeyer

Cast: Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Justine Clarke, Rhys Muldoon


Slightly cliché, indulgently amusing, startlingly innocent: Danny Deckchair runs like a stream that is somewhat shallow but overall sweet. It’s one of those movies you describe as “cute” before turning your mind to more serious matters, like whether or not you want to add whipped cream to your post-film frappucino. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed myself, but it’s not exactly hard-hitting or even all that surprising.

Danny Deckchair follows the accidental adventures of Danny Morgan (wiry Ifans of Notting Hill and The Replacements fame), an Australian cement layer whose stream of ideas are often more hare-brained than they are ambitious. After overhearing his live-in girlfriend (Clarke) describe him as “one of the little people,” Danny once again takes to fantasy—this time with a small herd of helium balloons and a lawn chair. Much to his friends’ and Trudy’s amazement, this crazy contraption actually takes off, whisking Danny away like a modern-day Dorothy. After weathering lightning storms and firework explosions, Danny lands rather unceremoniously in the backyard of a parking cop named Glenda (the lovely Otto from LOTR) in a small town outside Sydney. The flying man becomes an instant celebrity both in his hometown, where he is labeled “Missing,” and the outback hamlet, where he makes a new identity—and possibly new life—for himself.

This mysterious disappearance cannot remain unresolved forever, though, as both a snooping journalist in the city (Muldoon) and Glenda’s jealous ex-boyfriend try to flush Danny out of his hiding place. There are, of course, the usual love conflicts and triangles, but it’s such a sweet movie (not a word I like to use often) that you can’t help smiling at it, even if it’s just to think, “Ahh, yes, I recognize this part of the plot.”

While Danny Deckchair is director Jeff Balsmeyer’s second movie, the majority of his film work lies in storyboard artistry for such movies as Operation Dumbo Drop (c’mon, admit it, you saw it), In the Army Now (this one too), Canadian Bacon, and my own personal favorite, TV sci-fi series “Sliders.” Considering these heavy projects should give you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into with DD. They’re cinematographic appetizers, as I like to call them—that or PG-13 teenie-boppers (I’m still working on it). Sexual material is limited to innuendos only (every “love” scene cuts off after the guy removes his shirt), and although it at first comes off as a movie for adults, in reality DD is suitable for all ages.

So while it’s not exactly the next award-winning epic, Danny Deckchair is the movie to see on a lazy afternoon when you’re not in the mood to think too much and “The Newlyweds” are all reruns.

— Emily Younger

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

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Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

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