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Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Deck the Heart 2021 * 1/2 Stars


How bad is 2021's Deck the Heart? Let me put it this way, how bad is a hurricane? Bad, catastrophic. "Deck" is a holiday movie but it doesn't feel enough like one. Perhaps it's the budget, perhaps it's the vexatious, drawn-out scenes of people conversing, perhaps it's the sometimes creepy non-Xmas music inserted during pivotal moments. Perhaps as to say, feasibly.

So yeah, Deck the Heart has its "heart" in the right place (ha-ha). I mean the film has good intentions. You know, celebrating Christmas, having it as a time of giving, celebrating family, blah blah blah. That's not the problem here. The problem is how it's made, all misguiding and "Don't Stand So Close to Me"-like. 

The romantic leads in "Deck" are good-looking people but the male looks like a middle-ager while the female looks like a college student who is cramming for her doctorate exams. Yeah, non-computing. When they kiss at the end (this occurs in all the Hallmark Xmas flicks), it almost looks criminal, like it was a dare or something. Yup, no mistletoe is gonna help this situation.

Taking place in Maine and showing snow one day and then showing no snow the next (uh-huh), Deck the Heart is about a NYC businessman who inherits his late grandfather's house. According to his grandfather's wishes, he must host Christmas there for his family. The rub: he decides to hire a party planner to do it with a budget of $12,000 (wha?? Could've fooled me based on the end results). 

Joe Kurak plays said businessman Chris Ackerman while Ashley Brinkman plays said party planner Meredith Block (or Merry because well, you know why). Chris and Merry eventually fall in love (duh) but their scenes together and their dialogue exchanges are about as stiff as a glass of Maker's Mark neat. It's not easy to watch. I mean did "Deck's" director (Candice T. Cain) tell them to walk and talk like zombies because it sure seemed that way to me. I've heard of actors trying to hit their marks but I've never seen it to be so axiomatic. Ugh. 

Like I said in the second paragraph, Deck the Heart has aspirations of what it wants to achieve. It wants you to feel those warm fuzzies while sipping the almighty eggnog. Too bad we've got a student film situation brewing here that appears like it was submitted at some festival in Podunk, Vermont. If helmer Cain knew where to put the camera, knew how to shoot a close-up, or knew how to squeeze performances out of everyone, Deck the Heart might've actually worked. What I saw on screen was way below the hard "deck". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

1 comment:

  1. One of most poorly acted movies I've seen in a long time. After the awful pretending to be freezing after being locked out of the house, the guy brings her in the house and instead of wrapping her in blankets and calling 9-1-1, he gets on his knees and prays that she comes through it and that it's time for him to stopping making his job a priority and to settle down. Turned it off at that point.