(Release Date: December 08, 2006)
Okay, fine, both Michelle and Suzanne wanted to see The Holiday and I'm just putty in their hands... particularly Suzanne's... so... so... so, that's kind of Romantic, right? Well, it worked!
To be fair... As far as Romantic Comedies go, this one is pretty much a keeper! This is mostly due to the casting itself. Among the four leads Jude Law and Kate Winslet are fantastic as always. Meanwhile Cameron Diaz offers a very cute and funny clumsy performance (with occasional fizzled lines). And... while Jack Black isn't exactly the first name that springs to mind when you're casting a Romantic Leading Man or Love Interest for Winslet, he pulls it off pretty well and seems to have a good time doing it.
The story is much more cute than deep (qualifying for "Chick Flick" categorization to be sure). Cameron Diaz is Amanda, a well-to-do Motion Picture Trailer creator from Los Angeles who is currently working on a ridiculously "Hollywood" trailer for an Action Film starring Lindsay Lohan and James Franco (man, he's going to Cameo his way into micro-stardom). While her career is going superbly, her relationship with live-in-beau Ethan (a film score composer played by Edward Burns) most certainly isn't, so she throws him out on his cheating ass. This minor breakdown causes her work to catch up with her and parts of her life are soon narrated by that Movie Trailer Announcer Guy Hal Douglas. Luckily that trick is used sparingly, but hilariously so it works when it's needed.
Meanwhile, back in Surrey, England a Newspaper Wedding Announcement writer named Iris (Winslet) is being strung along by her own cheating Ex named Jasper (Rufus Sewell). Her work catches up with her in the form of having to hear about his own wedding announcement to another woman.
Quicker than you can say "CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY" Chick A and Chick B find each other on the internet, instant message for a while, and cross each other on the way to vacation over Christmas in each other's homes. I... I guess neither of them saw Cry_Wolf then. Well, I guess a lot of people didn't! I wonder who did that trailer. No, actually I don't.
Predictably, both women accidentally find love (or that which passes for same) in their new, temporary abodes. Amanda's Cozy (read "SMALL") cottage getaway is soon invaded by Iris' big brother Graham, who is used to crashing on the couch. Because Graham is played by, and therefore looks like, Jude Law, and is, by all appearances, a grown-up lothario James Dean, she decides it's high time for a no-strings-attached fling. Meanwhile, ol' Ethan sends over his fellow Film Composer Miles to run over to Amanda's house and scream "I WANT MY STUFF BACK!" (in so many words). Instead, naturally, Miles finds Iris. Iris is surprised to find... Miles interesting.
By now you can figure that both accidental couples soon show the potential of becoming COUPLES and by now you can guess that this causes tension out the navel when all interested parties realize how temporary this must necessarily be. But if you've ever seen any Romantic Comedy (even just a trailer) you can probably guess the last ten minutes without a crystal ball.
Luckily the book doesn't open and slam close that fast or that easy. While Graham is apparently more than he seems, Miles is apparently more than meets the eye himself. Through a couple of sub-plots, we get a larger story on each of the characters as well as a few surprises.
The most interesting of these is Iris' accidental discovery of Classic Hollywood in the form of Eli Wallach's retired screenwriter Arthur. Arthur's remembrance of Old Hollywood and how different things are today gives us a few lines that I, personally, can really get behind. Funny that this film was brought to us by the Conglommo Combo of Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios! Iris' build up of this broken down old man allows for some fine acting on both their parts and adds just a degree or two more warmth to this Christmas release.
It also adds a few more Cameo appearances to the mix. The Holiday is not short on cameo appearances... They must have caught a lot of actors while they were on Holiday. Aside from the aforementioned mentions, we get glimpses of Bill Macy, Shelley Berman, John Krasinski and even Dustin Hoffman in a funny, but nearly microscopic in-joke.
By definition, this genre is both predictable and often silly. There are plenty of moments of near-slapstick goofiness as well as a pile of familiar themes hanging out all over this film's place and crashing on its couch. However Nancy Meyers (who directed her own script) keeps things going for even the dudes in the audience. No, there's no nudity, but there are some interesting moments in the areas of blocking, sound mix and framing that caught my eye. Further, the emphasis on Classic Hollywood and literature (Miles is a Film Composer, Graham is a Book Editor) leads to some nice (if minor) moments for film buffs sticking out of the flick here and there (including one tiny nod to Hans Zimmer, who composed the music heard here).
Michelle: Ahem... I'm going to beat you to death with your tape dispenser. So, if I read you correctly, dudes (but not chicks) are interested in blocking, sound mix and framing - not to mention Classic Hollywood and literature. Further, dudes (but not chicks) are interested in nudity. You have lost your feminist credentials in my eyes, my friend. Because I love you dearly, I will withhold the 3M beating a statement like that there above deserves. I will only sigh and say, "I knew he couldn't REALLY be a feminist. After all, how could any man be?"
I... I... Well, I...
Nope... It says EVEN for dudes... Meaning, that if they got dragged there, they'd dig it. It's like saying Everyone likes Life Cereal... EVEN MIKEY... It doesn't mean that EVERYBODY ELSE doesn't like it. Right? Well, Right?
... Okay, let me try that again...
That is if we dumb, male apes can understand all that subtext. Women will likely appreciate the romance and all that other stuff. All you "Where's the War" men who are into Film, but not romance will appreciate the extras mentioned above. But then there's category three... meaning me. I just sort of sat there pointing at the screen and hopping around like Tarzan saying "She pretty. Me like movie!" I then dove my head into the Popcorn Bucket and asked for a salt lick. Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-EEGAH-EEGAH!
Pant... Pant... Pant...
How was that?
Michelle: Nope. I still don't like it. You're still generalizing. You're saying that Women will like the Romance and the rest, but Men will only like the Technical side of things! I did notice your usage of 'even', but I'm telling you it's far to subtle a thing for readers to catch.
Okay then... Um...
Blah Blah Blah and uh, Nancy Meyers (who directed
Better? Butter? ... PARKAY?
Michelle: LOL! Great. But you know... I truthfully had no issue with the way you wrote it, right? I was only kidding ;-) I was doing it a joking sort of way, which you took to seriously. Now... your readers are going to think I'm some kind of ball-hacking Femi-Nazi.
I... I... You what? Sigh. Fine... I'll just concentrate on the "love you dearly" part. Moving on... Sheesh!
If nothing else, The Holiday is a lot of fun, especially for those fans of Romantic Comedies. My wife is most assuredly that... so I've seen more than my fair share of these... many of them interminable. This one wasn't bad at all. There was enough in there to keep me interested and laughing. But even I'll admit, I'm ready to watch Leon: The Professional as soon as possible after this one. Guy film time, kids, guy film! Three and One Half Stars out of Five for The Holiday. It may not have Zombies Slasher Alien Super Heroes who speak in fluent Iambic Pentameter, but if you're given the choice between watching this with your lady or virtually any other Romantic Comedy out there, I'd say to take your Holiday, then look for me in the next reel!
|What's New?||Alphabetical Listing of Reviews!||SearchThisSite:||Advertise With Us!||About...||Lynx Links:||F*A*Q|