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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Holiday

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Judy Thorburn

The Holiday

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"THE HOLIDAY" A PREDICTABLE BUT CHARMING EXCURSION

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Writer/director Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give, What Women Want) has found the perfect solution for women who can’t seem to find the right guy. According to her new movie, a romantic comedy called “The Holiday”, the answer is as simple as this – trade living spaces. But, make sure they are in different countries, because like the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side, and in this case across the globe, where a good man is easier to find…and mostly likely a keeper.

Cameron Diaz (who, surprisingly doesn’t have a usual “shake her booty” scene) is Amanda, owner of a Los Angeles production company that makes movie trailers. She’s rich, lives in a beautiful, big Beverly Hills mansion with all the high tech gadgets, but can’t hold onto a man and is unable to shed a tear (a plot device to come in handy later). When Amanda finds out that live in boyfriend, Ethan (Edward Burns) is cheating on her, she throws him out, leaving Amanda alone and miserable for the upcoming Christmas holidays. Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic, is sweet British newspaper reporter Iris played by Kate Winslet, who is going through similar guy problems in London. Iris is in love with a self-centered cad named Jasper (Rufus Sewell), who works for the same paper. Although they’ve dated for three years, he announces his engagement to another woman, news that of course, leaves Iris heartbroken and depressed. Both Amanda and Iris need a change, and a vacation from men - so they think. So what do they do? Amanda goes searching on the Internet for a vacation site and comes across Iris’s home, a charming cottage located just forty minutes outside of London. Amanda and Iris begin an online chat and in an impulsive moment, agree to switch residences for two weeks. Ah ha, now we essentially get two romantic tales for the price of one with the stories shifting back and forth from one to the other.

Iris flies off to America and arrives at the gate to Amanda’s house and is unexpectedly blown away by her new spacious, posh living quarters with all it whistles and bells, a far cry from her small, but cozy cottage. Amanda on the other hand, while snuggling into the warm and definitely much smaller abode in the snowy English countryside, has trouble adjusting to driving on the other side of the road, a cause for some comic relief. Be that as it may, the reason for the getaway is because the girls want a break from men, right? Well as luck has it, that won’t happen. In the fantasy world of movies, a charming, unforgettable guy just HAS to drop by on each of their front doors. For Amanda it turns out to be Iris’s brother Graham (Jude Law) in an inebriated state, but so handsome that Amanda can’t stop herself from taking him to bed for a supposedly one night stand. Iris, far from matching up with another young man, first encounters and then befriends neighbor, Arthur Abbott (veteran actor and scene stealer, Eli Wallach) a famous former screenwriter probably close to 90, with ties to the golden age of Hollywood who teaches her a thing or two about confidence, self worth and the true meaning of friendship and love. Iris, meanwhile, being the good-natured, nurturing type, winds up, in turn making an impact in the elderly man’s life. However, this is just a subplot and Iris has to eventually meet her love match. He comes in the way of Miles (Jack Black) a film composer that works with Amanda’s ex, who drops by to pick up some of Ethan’s belongings.

Remember, this is a romantic comedy and so much is predictable, including a happy ending. However, as such there has to be conflict and complications in each of the scenarios before all is said and done. Everyone is carrying some personal baggage that first has to get in the way. Amanda can’t commit. Graham is hiding a family secret. Iris has trouble getting over Jasper, and sensitive Miles is dealing with a cheating girlfriend, something Iris can most certainly relate to.

What it comes down to is the engaging performances by most of the attractive cast who exchange some clever dialogue. Jude Law, looking as gorgeous and charming as ever is simply irresistible. Diaz is as cute and bubbly as usual. And the lovely, Winslet brings an emotional depth to her wounded character, who learns to realize being a doormat doesn’t result in happiness. Only Jack Black seems miscast and uncomfortable in what could best be described as a low-key role for this otherwise, wild and crazy guy. He’s not UN-likeable, just a wrong fit in otherwise well suited cast. The needed chemistry between Winslet wasn’t there and at any moment I expected him to display some of that behavior that he was straining to hold back.

The Holiday is by no means one of the best pictures of the year. But it is downright charming, with lots of heart and a couple of funny moments. Yes, call it a chick flick if you will. But, there are worse things you could do during the holiday season then sit through this movie. Think of The Holiday as a welcome vacation and escapist journey from all those heavy dramas and horror movies presently in release, or as a delightful diversion that, mostly likely, will put a smile on your face.