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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 21, 2005
Danny Deckchair is as charming a movie as I've seen in years - a total surprise of a film with a heart as big as the great continent it comes from.

Rhys Ifans is nothing short of amazing as Danny - bringing a believability factor to a role that easily could have come off as slap-shtick. Ifans brings an inherent vulnerability that makes Danny, a bit of a loser, immediately likeable. He isn't fully prepared - nor is the viewer - for the remarkable journey he finds himself taking and Ifans expressive face registers everything; fear, anger, disbelief, acceptance, but most of all wonder. The transformation Danny undergoes upon his unexpected arrival in Clarence is remarkable as his life changes in almost unimaginable ways. Where in Sydney he'd been stuck in a dead end job (where he still made his own fun) living with a woman increasingly growing weary of him, no real prospects for the future and his "lame" ideas shot down at every turn, in Clarence he is hailed as a hero, transforming not only himself but Glenda and the town itself.

Miranda Otto's Glenda is a gloriously rare creature, an enigma: tough yet fragile as lace the town views her almost as an outcast, yet when Danny arrives, she becomes adored by everyone. Otto's transformation is no less astonishing than Danny's and as the film progresses she almost literally glows. She becomes the ideal woman in nearly every way imaginable. When things get tough, we see another crack in her veneer and learn a lot when she cries out "I just don't want to feel." Otto makes it utterly impossible not to fall in love with this beautiful creature.

The supporting cast all turn in terrific performances, both the folks back in Sydney and Danny's new life in Clarence.

The film - and Danny's message comes across loud and clear: there are no little blokes, no little jobs, no little anything, that everything in the world matters and has worth.

Watching Danny Deckchair one slips back a little into a world where anything is possible - especially if you've got a few dozen balloons and a couple tanks of helium!

This gets my highest recommendation.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2006
"Danny Deckchair" isn't a complex movie, nor is it particularly deep. If you're looking for a serious drama about relationships and love, look elsewhere. If, however, you're looking for a genuinely charming and funny movie that will leave you feeling pretty good overall by the end, then this is it.

Danny, a "cement man" in Sydney, Australia, leads a pretty normal life with his girlfriend, his house, his weekend barbeques, and his friends. He does, however, have some pretty crazy ideas. Frustrated in his fruitless attempts to take a vacation somewhere out of the way, and confused by his reaction to his girlfriend's possible infidelity, he comes up with the craziest one ever: strap a huge bunch of yellow helium balloons to a lawn chair and see where it takes him. To the surprise of everyone (including himself!), it works, and it takes him to the little town of Clarence. There, he discovers the possibility of new love in the form of the local parking meter cop who first finds him when he falls out of the sky, and he finds that he can be someone important after all: himself.

I love watching "Danny Deckchair" because it walks so many fine lines so well. It's a little predictable, but not insulting. It's fun and funny, without delving into stupidity. It's a "feel-good" movie but it's not saccharine-sweet. The two main actors (Rhys Ifans and the lovely Miranda Otto) are really likable and have a lot of natural chemistry, without any of it seeming forced or manufactured. It's just a fun movie to watch when you need a pick-me-up, or when you want to feel happy about something. And, corny as it sounds, it's a little reminder about some of the more important things in life...new discoveries, happiness, friendship, and yes, love.

Watching "Danny Deckchair" is kind of like a little vacation all its own, without the extra expense, stress, or the need for a bunch of yellow balloons. Have a seat, grab a cool drink and someone you love to hold on to, and just enjoy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2005
Danny Deckchair is an Australian film directed by Jeff Balsmeyer. It stars Rhys Ifans, as the main character Danny Morgan, and Miranda Otto in the female lead, Glenda Lake. It is one of those nice little films one is blessed to discover. I came across this DVD in a rental shop cut-out bin. It was like finding treasure.

Danny Deckchair is billed as a comedy but it is more than just a funny story. It is about dreams, big and small, romance and how one overcomes a bland existance. Danny works with concrete. He lives with his social climbing and agressively romantic girlfriend Trudy played wonderfully by Justine Clarke. Danny has a knack for trying weird things. He jumps into wet concrete. He trys to become the ammunition in a giant slingshot. Finally, he straps helium filled balloons to a deck aka lawn chair and off he goes.

Danny lands in a small back country town and is transformed, but so are the folks in this little town. The idea of an out of towner who changes the people he interacts with is not a new idea in film story lines. But, Danny Deckchair certainly does this film genre justice. I have always enjoyed Australian cinema. No matter what the story it always seems bright and fresh. Danny Deckchair is bright, fresh, and enjoyable. It is a definite buy.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2006
I happened across this film, thanks to my new dishnetwork satellite hookup (not a marketing post, I swear), and it absolutely hooked me right from the start. One look at "Danny's" face, and I knew in there somewhere was a beautiful man dying to break out of his shell. Maybe it's a mirror of my middle-aged self examination, but I saw in Danny and his story the wonder of emerging as the person you are inside after a lifetime of being dissed. Somehow, for him, he lands in the right place, almost in the lap of the right person, and this fairy tale takes off. Lots of great characters, a beautiful town, a story that moves right along, and it just doesn't seem syrupy at all. Wonderful, old-style romantic, well paced.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2005
That would be the word I could not stop saying while watching this movie. It is one of those rare, precious romantic comedies that is actually both romantic and funny. Since the plot has already been discussed exhaustively, I not waste anyone's precious time by rewriting the screenplay. Miranda Otto is adorable as Glenda, reinforcing the opinion I formed after watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy; that is, she can pull off just about any role. The rest of the cast is also excellent in their respective roles. The supporting characters are quirky and fun, but never to the point of upstaging the action. This one is a keeper!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I gave it 5 stars because when I rented it I just had to watch it more than once, and then I just had to buy it! Yeah, it is predictable, but, so what? That was part of the enjoyment, actually. It feels good and is a great escape. Sweet and funny, with fun to watch characters.

I guess I'm not good at picking apart a film, but analyzing it to death takes away all the fun and the things you do like about it! Perfect for a weekend date or a lazy afternoon....

Rhys Ifans and Miranda Otto are a great pair in this film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2006
Apparently, in 1982 there really was a fellow who tied a bunch of weather balloons to a lawn chair and flew much higher and further than he expected. It's an outlandish enough story that it makes sense that sooner or later someone would see it as the germ of a film idea.

Writer Jeff Balsmeyer correctly makes this the centerpiece of the story, a transforming experience for cement man Danny Morgan (Rhys Ifans), an oddball ne'er-do-well who shares a home in Sydney with his attractive, ambitious girlfriend, realtor Trudy Dunphy (Justine Clarke). Their relationship is under a strain. Most people don't pay attention to Danny and his brainstorms. He makes do, though, with his blue-collar job, punctuated by camping vacations and the construction of the odd human slingshot. Trudy, on the other hand, longs for something more.

Along comes handsome newscaster Sandy Upman (Rhys Muldoon), and, tired of Danny's inertia, Trudy's head begins to turn. She lies to Danny, scuttling their outdoor trip to nurture her professional connection with Sandy. It isn't looking good for Danny, and in desperation he cooks up a stunt, buying helium and castoff advertising balloons. It all comes to a head at a big weekend cookout, and he accidentally becomes airborne.

Like many romantic comedies, this accident delivers Danny to a new place and new possibilities. He crash-lands miles away from home, in the back yard of Glenda Lake, whose solitude threatens to make her the town spinster. To avoid embarrassment, she and Danny fabricate a new identity for him. His impulsive style charms Glenda, and she's not the only one - people begin to listen to Danny. His workaday background endears him to them, and his spontaneity spreads through the town. The challenger in the upcoming mayoral election, "Big Jim" Craig, hires Danny as his campaign manager. Danny's life has never felt so focused.

While all this is going on, Trudy exploits Danny's disappearance to attract media attention, thereby drawing herself closer to Sandy. He's been gone long enough that the news story is taking on a tragic dimension. Unbeknownst to Trudy, Danny is so popular that he has begun to eclipse his employer as a possibility for mayor.

All of this comes to a head when a old flame of Glenda's discovers the truth about Danny, and, in an attempt to discredit him, leaks the story to the press. Danny and Trudy's reunion is a bigger story than ever, and Sydney warmly embraces their newest celebrities. It's up to Danny to decide which of his diverging lives is the true one, and which is the fiction.

This is a well-travelled path, and its charm lies almost entirely in its execution. Rhys Ifans is handsome enough to be a romantic leading man, but fun and believable with the impulsive quirks that land him in trouble. Justine Clarke walks the fine line, making her character compelling while doing very unsympathetic things. Miranda Otto also strikes an impressive balance - she makes a pretty leading lady while being convincing as the inadvertent town wallflower.

What makes this story so appealing is that it's one of a misfit finding his true home and purpose with a community who really cares about him. It's heartening to see a seemingly irresponsible guy clicking into acceptance without sacrificing his priciples or identity. Surprisingly, both city and small-town life are shown to be flawed - Trudy represents the impersonal ambition of the city, while Danny's small-town candidate spouts populist tripe and philanders with his constituents.

The plot's not without its own blemishes. Once Danny is caught in his lie, the townsfolk seem completely unconcerned that they've been misled for quite a while. Additionally, the mayoral race vanishes entirely, perhaps cut to restore the audience's patience. Still, "Danny Deckchair", while perhaps not a film for the ages, is a satisfying, charming tale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2009
I admit that comedy isn't my preferred movie of choice (I prefer period dramas). However, I absolutely adore indies, especially foreign indies, as they usually avoid the vapid American comedic cliches I detest.

Danny Deckchair is an indie comedy with alot of heart, alot of soul, and a heck of alot of laughs - all due to the brilliantly cast leads of Miranda Otto and Rhys Ifins, as well as Justine Clarke. I've enjoyed watching Otto since LotR. In Danny Deckchair, she's so luminous it almost hurts to watch her. Ifans was an unknown to me, and at first it was hard to get a handle on him, but his transformation from likable yet pathetic loser to shining "everyman" was a sheer delight. Clarke plays a character that could be a shrew in the wrong actor's hands, but with her acting makes the character sympathetic and not hateful.

The cinematography was wonderful, and really captured the "dreamtime" quality that so many Americans imagine belongs to that vast country of Australia. I wanted to jump on the next Quantas flight after the end credits rolled!

Danny is a delight to the senses, and a joy to the heart, and should be appreciated by even those people who normally eschew comedy. Take a ride with Danny and see for yourself!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2005
Please get Danny Deckchair and enjoy one of the sweetest, most heartfelt movies you will ever see. What a joy to see a simple, feel-good movie with a big heart and wonderful actors, instead of car chases, battle scenes, overwhelming special effects (that dwarf the story), and high-tech flash. Rhys Ifans is wonderful. When is someone going to give this talented, expressive actor more exposure? Miranda Otto and the rest of the cast are great, too. If you want to smile and feel great for a couple of hours, get this movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2006
A lighthearted look at the day to day life of a hard working regular guy from the big city. How he handles the "curve balls" that life throws at him, from a cheating girlfriend to a fantastic journey that lands him in a place where he can start anew. The results are at once hilarious and heartwarming, a must see.
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