A HESITANT THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING!
Romantic comedies abound in cinema. Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, French Kiss, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and The Whole Nine Yards are just a few of the more recent ones in this genre. THE HOLIDAY certainly falls headlong into this category, but does so with the addition of it taking place around the Christmas season. Writer/director/producer Nancy Meyers is very familiar in the RomCom arena. Her repertoire contains such gems as Private Benjamin and Father of the Bride (we’ll forgivingly overlook the Father of the Bride II debacle for the moment).
What The Holiday has going for it is some good dialogue and even better acting. Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black round out the prime roles. The story starts with Amanda (Cameron Diaz, In Her Shoes) as she ejects her live-in boyfriend from her home. She’s an intense young woman who’s the CEO of her own upstart company that makes movie trailers. Her lifestyle is getting the better of her and she decides she needs a holiday.
Iris (Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland) is in love with one of her close working colleagues and decides she needs a mental health getaway from the constrained English countryside. But what to do. Ah! House swap!
Iris and Amanda fly across the Atlantic and take over each other’s residences. Iris lands in L.A. to find a beautifully manicured house with every possible accouterment, while Amanda drags herself up the snow-laden driveway to a cramped but quaint English cottage. Initially Amanda hates what she finds. The quiet life doesn’t suit her. But then she runs into Iris’ brother Graham (Jude Law, Closer) and a one-night stand turns into something Amanda never thought possible. Iris, in L.A., struggles with falling out of love with her ex-beau who is soon to be married but won’t stop bothering her (he calls, sends emails, etc.). But Iris develops a unique friendship with Miles (Jack Black), a sound mixer for films, and she sees in him the same failings her own relationships have.
Although very predictable, the powerhouse actors and actresses with the superb dialogue made this flick enjoyable. The handsome Jude Law will make young viewers swoon and the sexy Cameron Diaz will appeal to men who still have an inkling of testosterone flowing through their veins.
Jack Black has toned down his hyperactivity and settled into a fine role (although some may miss his outlandish behaviors of ol’). His "breast graze" lines are funny and poignant, making us love him for his calmly delivered antics this time.
Kate Winslet sheds her Titanic persona and goes back to what she knows: being a regular English actress. Her simple demeanor was quite well pulled off for someone who tends to have a more haughty acting history, showing that she can ugly down a bit and act in ways we may have forgotten.
All-in-all this is a pretty predictable romantic comedy but the script is so strong and the acting so well done that it deserves plenty of accolades.