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:: Danny Deckchair

One word to describe many (or most) Australian comedies is “quirky”, and yes this one is another one of those “quirky” comedies. Starring “Notting Hill” scene-stealer Rhys Ifans as Danny (yes, he was more memorable than the leading actor), Miranda Otto as Glenda and Justine Clarke as Trudy, “Danny Deckchair” details the bizarre adventures of an ordinary city bloke who feels like he desperately needs a change of scenery, and does so literally.

Pinning all his hopes on a camping holiday with his long-time, over-ambitious, real estate agent girlfriend Trudy, Danny is crushed to learn that not only does Trudy not want to go away with him but she has also lied about why she couldn’t. In a subdued fit of rage Danny pulls one his stupidest pranks to date, he ties a whole bunch of helium balloons to an outdoor fold-up deckchair. Once the chair takes off, he’s gone, being the butt of all local news “funnier-side-of-life” report jokes. Trudy is left devastated at the loss of her boyfriend but finds comfort in her new found minor celebrity status.

Meanwhile Dorothy (Oops… Danny) is off of his “Wizard of Oz” adventure and lands somewhere over the rainbow in a small town called Clarence. Here Danny finds the appreciation and respect he deserves and could never find in the city also the love of his life in the form of Glenda (The good witch of the North?). Landing in her back yard the two share a secret pact to keep a lid on the nature of his journey whilst striking up a friendship and more. This friendship helps Glenda to come out of her bitchy exterior shell as most hated parking inspector in town and Danny becomes well liked and loved by the towns folk under the false pretence that he is an old lover of Glenda’s, a professor none-the-less. The townsfolk encourage Danny’s’ idea of a pancake breakfast whilst in the city it was mocked and in a moving speech encourage his run for Mayor. However as predicted sooner or later the jig is up and Danny is discovered to be the bizarre balloon chairman and must be shipped back into the city with his anxiously awaiting Trudy and her chase for fame. Glenda is left heart broken and decides a change of life style is the best option. Back in the city Danny comes to the realisation that there really is no place like home (his new home in Clarence that is) and leaves his city life and finds himself dropping in unexpectedly on Glenda once more.

Directed by American Jeff Balsmeyer, this Australian film lives up to its clich√© of a “feel-good romantic-comedy.” Welsh actor Rhys Ifans plays the typical Aussie bloke quite convincingly as Otto and Clarke don’t stray too far from what they’ve done before but do it with charm. The town and characters of Clarence have a recognisable homey, fairy tale-like feel to them which makes it clear to see why Danny would want to stay.

A clever take on “The Wizard of Oz” with its bizarre method of transportation that actually does happen quite often in real life than one would think.