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Danny (Rhys Ifans) is a cement worker looking forward to his long-planned holiday with live-in girlfriend Trudy (Justine Clark). But Trudy has other plans, especially when local TV celebrity Sandy Upman (Rhys Muldoon) shows interest. Danny escapes his suburban prison by blasting into the skies sitting in a deck chair tied with helium-filled balloons. But his escapade blows him far away towards the lush green village of Clarence, where he crashes into the world of Glenda (Miranda Otto), the town’s only parking cop. A change is as good as a holiday they say, and Danny gets change allright.

Review by Louise Keller:

A highly original and delightfully funny romantic comedy, Danny Deckchair just goes to show that dreams do have wings and love can sometimes fall out of the sky. Jeff Balsmeyer’s innovative and wonderfully written story is about a man who believes he is a nobody until an act of desperate madness leads him to find his own little piece of sky.

While the story is set in Australia and captures the camaraderie of the locals, in fact it’s universal in appeal, and focuses on finding the right jigsaw into which your unique little piece will fit. Rhys Ifans makes a surprisingly appealing romantic lead, starting as a scruffy, deadbeat of a cement truck driver who less than satisfies the ambitious aspirations of his attention-seeking girlfriend. He begins as an eccentric caricature, as he makes his not so silent plea for help at the weekend barbie. In fact, he makes a very convincing Aussie, with his toned down English accent making Australian vowel sounds with great authenticity, and blending in beautifully with the local actors.

But what begins as a peaceful flight into the heavens (past the city skyscrapers and heading towards the tranquil countryside), turns into an event-filled escapade right in the midst of a thunderstorm and the Macademia Festival fireworks. Clothes maketh the man goes the saying and Danny’s Professor Daniels is a smooth-shaven, hunk of a ladies man who learns that although some things that may seem little, they are in fact the all-important big things in life. Miranda Otto’s Glenda goes from stodgy, purse-lipped parking attendant to the belle of the ball, letting her hair down in every sense of the word. Otto is lovely in the role and we warm to her transformation and hypnotically alluring deep-throated chuckle. Everything works and the most unlikely of romantic moments at the end of the film is guaranteed to bring a lump to your throat and a little tear to your eye.

This is a laugh-out-loud comedy, filled with visual gags, slapstick and inventive humour. Stage actress/singer Justine Clarke is perfect as the go-getter gal who uses all her talents (including those set up by the wonder-bra) and thrives on the media attention, and all the cast is terrific. The NSW countryside of Bellingen is beautifully shot, and is a stark contrast to Danny’s brick suburban surrounds. Like Danny, we are eager to embrace the genuine warmth of the locals. Blast off for a wildly entertaining and unexpectedly funny romp with Danny Deckchair.

Published December 18, 2003

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CAST: Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Justine Clarke, Rhys Muldoon, John Batchelor, Jane Ruggiero, Dina Gillespie, Darren Kehole, Angus King, Michelle Boyle

DIRECTOR: Jeff Balsmeyer

SCRIPT: Jeff Balsmeyer

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9 widescreen; dolby digital; 5.1 surround sound


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: (Rental) December 10, 2003; (Retail) March 24, 2004

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