Danny Deckchair

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sex-related situations.

Reviewed by: Chris Monroe

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Adults
Genre: Romance Comedy
Length: 1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release: 2003
USA Release: Jul 9, 2004 (festival)
August 11, 2004 (limited)
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
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Copyright, Lions Gate Films

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Featuring Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Justine Clarke, Andrew Crabbe, Rhys Muldoonz
Director Jeff Balsmeyer
Producer Andrew Mason
Distributor: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Trademark logo.
(Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.)

“For anyone who ever dreamed of taking off.”

Up, up, and away and through a right of passage is where our main character goes in the romantic comedy “Danny Deckchair.” Entailing more love than laughter, this film has a predictable, but enjoyable, story that in due course inspires viewers not to settle for less than the best for our lives.

In modern day Sydney, Danny (Rhys Ifans) works as a cement mixer for a local construction company, and is looking forward to a week off for his “holiday” to go camping with his live-in girlfriend, Trudy (Justine Clarke). When she lies and cancels their plans, Danny is very disappointed. While sitting at home in boredom, he gets an idea to attach helium balloons to a deckchair. Feeling rejected by Trudy and jealous over her newfound infatuation with a famous newscaster, Danny sets to flight one day during a backyard barbeque, flying off to where his dreams come true.

The meaningful relationship Danny develops with Glenda (Miranda Otto) when he flies off to the small Australian town of Clarence is contrasted with the shallow romances that appear throughout the story. Danny and Miranda do sleep together, as do Trudy and her newscaster boyfriend, but none of it is shown. There is also a crass politician character that has an affair with a married woman, but he and his actions seem to be shown unfavorably. What the story is ultimately trying to highlight is the genuineness of Danny and Glenda’s affection.

As for some of other content, there are a few foul words here and there, and a tactless joke made by the politician. We see characters kissing, but not much more. There is no nudity and no explicit sexual situation. Overall, it is pretty clean.

One apparent similarity with this story and the Gospel accounts is Jesus’ remark in Matthew 13:57 that, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household.” (NAS) Danny goes from being a disrespected blue-collar worker to a kind of hero in the small town of Clarence. In the beginning, Danny’s girlfriend Trudy makes a comment about how Danny is just “one of the little people.” She says he’s not dull, but we know she isn’t crazy about him. And while Danny has friends, he really just seems like a plain guy.

After Danny spends time in Clarence and builds friendships with the people there, he begins to gain notoriety. He helps with an election campaign, and when the politician he is helping is missing, Danny suddenly has to make his speech to the town. Here and elsewhere, Danny speaks out with simple truths that he has learned. He is honored by all of the people who listen. Similarly, Jesus Christ consistently met with opposition in Jerusalem with his own people, but was always honored and welcomed elsewhere. It was also outside Jerusalem where he was able to perform the most miracles.

The filmmaking here is quite simple, but done well. The plot is predictable and the humor is moderate. More than anything else, this is a love story. The acting is good, especially Ifans and Miranda Otto (whom you may recall from the latter two “Lord of the Rings” films). It was a bit of a stretch to see Ifans and Otto play opposite each other romantically, but it is still feasible and doesn’t really detract from the delightful experience this film can be.

Violence: None / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I have to admit that I did not want to see this movie when my husband brought it home from the video store. It looked so stupid! But, it was actually very refreshing and very heart-warming! I loved the entire story about how inspiring one man could be. There is hardly any cussing in the movie at all. There are two scenes involving sex before marriage. However, there is no nudity or sex shown—implied sex. Still very cute movie. We were impressed with such a low budget movie! Great date movie!
My Ratings: [Average/3]
Amy, age 35
Movie Critics
…hilarious, heart-warming comedy celebrating simple, small-town virtues…
Dr. Tom Snyder, Movieguide
…A soothing antidote to some of the summer’s high-priced Hollywood clunkers…
Mike Clark, USA Today
…might easily have become the next Forrest Gump, a whimsical fairy tale of a movie meant to ignite the imaginations of like-minded restless souls, were it not for the fact that the entire film had been edited with the breathless urgency of your average movie trailer…
Peter Debruge, Premiere Magazine
…“Danny Deckchair” is only a trifle, but it has its charms, most of them residing in the low-key performances of Mr. Ifans and Ms. Otto… an attractive pair of shy soul mates…
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
…Welsh character actor Rhys Ifans takes the lead in this warmly engaging comedy…
Erin Free, The Hollywood Reporter
…not without moments of charm… but this featherweight comedy floats out of your head as soon as it’s done…
E! Online
…basic loser-reinvents-himself-and-finds-happiness-in-a-new-place comedy…
Bob Strauss, LA Daily News