> Volume 6 > Number 25


Jeff Balsmeyer

Rhys Ifans
Miranda Otto
Justine Clarke
Rhys Muldoon
John Batchelor

Release: 11 Aug. 04

Danny Deckchair


Forced to stay home from his long-planned camping vacation, Sydney cement worker Danny (Ifans) gets so mad at his wife (Clarke) that he drinks enough to kill an animal (though only enough to give an Australian a slight buzz), ties some helium-filled balloons to his deckchair, and accidentally loses his grounding weight. Next thing he knows, he’s floated off into rural Australia, where a tiny firecracker show downs his floating vessel like the Hindenburg. Most of the blanks can be filled in from here -- meets a woman (Otto) who really understands him, gets outed as the missing deckchair guy, must win his beloved back -- but Danny Deckchair at least has an easy personality which livens the clichéd jokes and improper inventions.

Though one never fully gets past the idea that he’s cheating on his wife, the character is charming enough to merit a long watch, even if this is only true after he arrives in his little burg and calms himself. While the film takes no risks, and only placates the American romantic comedies that spawned it (including Notting Hill, the film introduced Ifans to most of the world), the near meaninglessness of its drivel almost becomes acceptable under the spell of its small town obscurity over big city notoriety debate.

Even so, the amateurish handling of nearly every aspect of the film keeps the charms from ever fully livening up the work. Ifans and Otto have a nice chemistry, but the screenplay treats them more as puppets than actors, giving them simple, predictable scenarios that are more for introduced humor or drama, not for any real character development. Once one gets passed the insane premise, the ride can be pleasant, if wholly forgettable

©2004, David Perry,, 18 June 2004