Two neighbors in a Massachusetts town go to war when the new neighbor (Devito) decides to decorate his house with a so many Christmas lights that they can be seen from space. The neighborhood is turned upside down as the families try to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this film. I suppose I had low expectations so I enjoyed it more than I otherwise would have. It, being the holiday season, I wanted to see something involving Christmas.
There isn’t anything really special about this film. So don’t expect it and you’ll enjoy it a little better.
The story isn’t original. It’s basically a weaker copy of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, Broderick in the role of Chase, Devito being similar to the character played by Randy Quaid. It’s basically the story of Steve Finch (Broderick) who is an optometrist by profession and the resident expert on Christmas, known for his extreme attention to details and planned order.
This all changes when Buddy Hall (Devito) and his family move across the street, becoming Finch’s neighbors. Their relationship starts out fine until Devito, who is now a car salesman with the tendency to quit everything he begins, discovers their house cannot be seen on an aerial photograph and decides to decorate it with enough lights to be seen from outerspace. He begins adding more and more and still more lights and music synchronized with the lights.
People come from everywhere to see and listen to his display which now includes a life-size real Nativity scene. Broderick starts getting annoyed by the blinding lights, the visitors blocking up the streets and, most importantly, a growing fear that Devito is going to replace him as the Christmas expert. So Broderick tries to sabotage Devito’s lights and, in turn, Devito tries to enact revenge on Broderick. Meanwhile, everyone else in their respected families gets along great, especially the wives.
The acting is adequate. I loved Devito’s role the best out of the cast here, even if it isn’t his best in his career. Broderick does okay but far from his best here. There isn’t much chemistry between these two so the jokes come off as weaker than they should – not totally worthless though. The rest of the cast doesn’t have much to do other than be cliché supporting characters. There was barely any character development so I didn’t care much about the characters.
The comedy is moderately good, at best. A few chuckles here and there but no bust-a-gut, knee-slapping humor.
The best aspect of the film is the Hall’s house with the super-lighted / decorated lawn. It was beautiful and full of holiday cheer. It was fun to hear all of the different versions of the usual Christmas songs.
The ending seems rather short, like it was rushed to get to a happy, meaningful ending. It just felt rushed and not heartfelt.
Overall, this is a moderately entertaining holiday comedy that’s worth a view if nothing else is on or you’re a Danny Devito fan.