Inspired by true events, the cutesy Danny Deckchair tells the story of a working-class Aussie who takes to the sky aboard a balloon-powered lawn chair and sails straight into the heart of a Frank Darabont film. No one takes Danny (Rhys Ifans) seriously. Case in point: his media-hungry girlfriend may be having an affair with a sleazy TV reporter, and an old friend, car salesman Phil Stubbs (Duncan Young), scoffs at his suggestion that he can attract customers with a pancake breakfast. Writer-director Jeff Balsmeyer is only too eager to enlighten his main character, and as such doesn’t spend much time setting up Danny’s troubles back home. Once the man takes-off via deckchair, he arrives in the naïve town of Clarence and soon finds himself living out the plot of a creaky Frank Capra picture. Clarence is a fairy-tale village populated to the brim with squealing pixie children and randy women whose favorite movies are no doubt Calendar Girls and The Full Monty, and it’s there that Danny finds love with the similarly unhappy Glenda Lake (a splendid Miranda Otto) and inspires the townspeople to live—ostensibly for the very first time—by inspiring them to climb telephone poles and declare their love for their superiors via network television. But as soon as his suggestion of a pancake breakfast goes over well with the natives, the past sneaks up on him and his newfound happiness threatens to crumble—the rest, naturally, writes itself. Otto and Ifans are excellent together but the film that contains them is unevenly pitched somewhere between a straight-faced Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and a magical realist Big Fish. In the end, Danny’s insipid adventure plays out as a line-by-line evocation of Joe Cocker’s “Up Where We Belong.”
- Lions Gate Films
- 100 min
- Jeff Balsmeyer
- Jeff Balsmeyer
- Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Justine Clarke, Rhys Muldoon, John Batchelor, Alan Flower, Julie Sobotta, Jane Ruggiero, Gina Bortolin, Duncan Young
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