"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
What You Need To Know:
DANNY DECKCHAIR is a hilarious, heart-warming movie celebrating some of the simple, small-town virtues exalted by the great Frank Capra in his American movie classics. Endearing performances by the two leads adds to the movie’s delight. The story takes place in our secularized modern world, however, so its moral worldview is moderated by Romantic, pagan elements, including some brief sexual elements and foul language.
(BB, Ro, Pa, LL, V, S, N, A, D, M) Moral worldview exalts innocent small-town virtues, small-town friendliness, the dignity of work, and simple dreams, over hectic, cold big city life, moderated by some modern Romantic, pagan elements; 18 obscenities (including several uses of “bloody” and many h, e, double hockey sticks), two strong profanities, and three light exclamatory profanities; light comic violence such as pratfalls, man almost falls to his death, and man falls into tree; implied fornication in one scene between the two protagonists, minor villain starts to make love to woman but is interrupted, and unmarried couple lives together in house they co-own, but woman has date with another man behind boyfriend’s back; upper male nudity, female cleavage, and two women briefly shown in underwear; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying.
GENRE: Comedy/Romantic Comedy
DANNY DECKCHAIR is a goofy title for an Australian comedy looking for a mainstream audience. It’s a hilarious, heart-warming movie celebrating some of the simple, small-town virtues exalted by the great Frank Capra in American movies like IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON.
Rhys Ifans stars in the title role as Danny Morgan, a cement brick-layer in Sydney, Australia whose absent-minded ways and love of the outdoors drives his girlfriend Trudy nuts. When Danny learns that Trudy is beginning an affair with the local sportscaster, he hatches a nutty scheme to attach helium balloons to his lawnchair or deckchair, as a lark. He unveils his contraption at a barbecue his girlfriend has planned. Two of his friends hold the chair down while they tie the balloons to the chair, but they forget for a moment, and Danny goes zooming up into the air, without the garden shears he was going to use to cut the balloon strings to descend. With the local air authorities chasing him down to rescue him, Danny and his deckchair disappear into a huge storm cloud.
Eventually, Danny crash lands in Clarence, a small bucolic town in western Australia, in the backyard of the local meter maid, Glenda, played by Miranda Otto of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Glenda hears him fall into her tree. The local authorities rush to her house, thinking that an alien has landed, but she lies, telling them it’s just her old college professor.
While his girlfriend Trudy basks in the glow of the media attention regarding Danny’s disappearance, Danny shaves his scraggly beard and becomes a local celebrity in Clarence. He even becomes a campaign advisor to Big Jim, the man challenging the local incumbent legislator. It’s the “little people,” however, who capture his heart, including Glenda. What will happen to Danny’s newfound friendships, however, when the truth about him comes out?
Despite some plot holes, DANNY DECKCHAIR contains two excellent, endearing performances by Rhys Ifans and Miranda Otto as the two leads. Justine Clarke as the star-struck girlfriend who betrays Danny also does a great job as the romantic foil. The movie resolves this romantic triangle in a positive way that heals wounded feelings. In a way, Danny is like a City Mouse who realizes that he’s actually a Country Mouse, who finds his true love in the countryside, far away from the hectic, bustling city.
DANNY DECKCHAIR actually contains allusions to Frank Capra’s wonderful, wholesome movies, including IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE and MEET JOHN DOE, so the comparisons to Capra are well-earned. It also has some cute references to THE WIZARD OF OZ that add to its delight. The story takes place in our secularized modern world, however, so its moral worldview is moderated by Romantic, pagan elements, including some brief, mostly implied, sexual elements and foul language. Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® must rate this winsome, entertaining movie a Minus One.