The Holiday (2006)
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The Holiday is a romantic comedy. You know what that means. And if you don't like romantic comedies, don't go and see it. If you do, you will know what to expect. The mushy feelings creeping up on you. All those 'If Only . . .' emotions telling you there is a lovely place somewhere in which people fall in love and everything works out kinda perfect. If only for a while . . . say, for the holiday period over Christmas and New Year . . . or for the 138 minutes which this film lasts.
Two Women on the Verge of Emotional Breakdown do holiday house swap. They escape lovelorn predicaments and find 'unexpected' love on their opposite sides of the Atlantic. Cue picturesque English country house just the way Americans imagine it (with sheep out the back). Cue enormous L.A. mansion with swimming pool (just the way Brits imagine it).
Cameron Diaz is Amanda, owner of a movie-trailers editing firm. Since she's played the same comedy character several times, there are few surprises; but an excellent script, written directly for her and the other three leading stars, projects it rather better than average. Kate Winslet as Iris, a successful writer on The Telegraph, is more nuanced: an actor with considerable range, we cannot but help admire the way she does 'pathetic girl' rather beautifully in a role that she could manage with one hand counting the ways to have fun and get paid simultaneously.
Formulaic it is (wonderful women with scoundrelly fellas eventually get The Real Men They Deserve - meeting puppy dogs, children, and falling snowflakes on the way of course). But, well-done within a narrow genre, it still stands out. No-brainers like this tend to have dumb scripts and dumber acting, but The Holiday contains warm, natural dialogue and heartfelt chemistry. If this was the 40's, you'd want Jude Law and Cameron Diaz to get married off-screen afterwards. Charismatic and entertaining, unless you find Diaz, Law or Winslet personally irritating (some people do), they are a joy to watch, filling their parts with love and light. Excellent production values keep the rather trite story flowing. Everything is picture-perfect, long lenses flattering the features of the already handsome stars, filters and soft-focuses carefully delineating the mood.
There is an overall honesty to the performances. "You look like my Barbie!" delights a four-year-old excitedly to Diaz. Ironic? But said with so much affection it is self-deprecating rather than cutting. Jack Black struggles to get out of his music-and-silly-faces typecasting but just manages to look the part for an intellectual Iris who is not attracted to skin-deep. Jude Law, on the other hand, could be an advert for men's skin cream, and too rounded a character to be mere pin-up material.
With more Christmas songs than you can shake a piece of tinsel at, The Holiday is a warm, snuggly romance to lose yourself in before coming firmly back down to planet earth. It might be shallow, but it's seasonal entertainment - and a Swiss chocolate of romantic comedies.
All of the characters are wonderfully developed especially Jude Laws-the under-story of Jude's character adds an extra dimension to his character and really makes you love him all the more.
Kate Winslet's character is another that was well worked out. She helps out this little old man . . . and the character development between her and this older gentleman is wonderful . . . it adds so much to her character, makes her more human, more real, someone very likable and someone you want to end up with a good ending.
Jack Black's character was sweet, not corny . . . and you end up liking him very much. He was not a goober like he usually is in his movies.
Over all, it was a wonderfully character driven movie, that was enjoyable and had you leaving the theater feeling good. I recommend it highly!
(My Comment) If you want to see a romantic comedy with real chemistry, especially between Cameron Diaz and Jude Law this is one chick flick you must see. This movie is a good date movie that is actually entertaining and sweet. You are actually seeing two love stories instead of one. There is a great subplot of the friendship between Kate Winslet and Eli Wallach's character that will touch your heart. Actually, I enjoyed that part of the movie the best. Overall, the movie was enjoyable to watch with touching and funny scenes throughout the movie. The ending is predictable, but what do you expect, it is a romantic comedy. You will leave the movie feeling good, and isn't that what movies are all about. (Columbia Pictures, Run time 2:18, Rated PG-13)(8/10)
This is a movie about two young women Amanda (Cameron Diaz not one of my favourite actresses) and Iris (Kate Winslett I adore Kate Winslett so I'm almost prepared to forgive her this dire interlude), who swap houses on a whim one Christmas, to escape their various romantic entanglements. Of course they meet new men and fall in love, as one always does when swapping houses, in this case with Jude Law and Jack Black. And I can't even recall the name of their characters (Graeme and Thingy? Ben and Jerry?) Amanda, who owns her own film promotion company and is a skinny over achiever (portrayed as a bitch of course, because she is successful), trots off (first class) to the English countryside where she wrestles with every British cliché in the book, such as driving on the left and stumbling across snowy meadows to reach the quaint, idyllic but chilly Rose Hill Cottage. Iris, an under achieving journalist, wronged in love by a classic British cad, legs it (economy) to LA, where she finds herself living next to a curmudgeonly old screen writer who turns out to have a heart of gold no surprises there then. I came in where Iris arrives in LA and Amanda arrives in the UK.
Amanda falls for Iris' brother (Jude Law), widowed tragically and left with two sweet children. We never find out how he was widowed so young but I spent most of the movie hoping that it would turn out he had murdered his wife, and wishing he would do the same to Diaz. This would have cheered me up enormously, but I guess Cathay Pacific wouldn't have shown it on a long haul flight? (This script has definite possibilities as a horror movie. Isolated cottage, stranger knocking at the door at night, etc. In Surrey, no one can hear you scream .) I have rarely seen a worse matched pair than Cameron Diaz and Jude Law. She is all sharp angles and a whiplash tongue, playing the crazy LA stereotype and he is wildly miscast as stoical Graeme (or Thingy?) Diaz here reminded me of a piece of barbed wire.
Meanwhile Iris is getting up close and friendly with Jack Black's character in LA, who has himself been wronged by some actress or other. I actually found Winslett and Black a much more convincing couple than Diaz and Law, although it looked briefly like she might get shacked up with the curmudgeonly old screen writer. Jack Black is actually very good here, playing it very straight, and his character won my sympathy even if I can't recall his name. I found myself warming to them both by the (very predictable) end. I could see why she found him appealing.
Then, as the film looped back to the start, I saw the first third. Oh dear . Truly awful.
Diaz' character, Amanda, is just appalling. Can she seriously enjoy playing this kind of stuff? Or does it fill the time between surfing? Does anyone really find this offensive portrayal of modern, successful, young women entertaining? Is it me or is this just so unfunny?
At one point, Amanda actually physically assaults her ex lover, with two right hooks to the chin which knock him flat. This is presented as amusing entertainment. Just imagine if you can the reverse; a couple splitting up, so he decides to go out on a high note by punching his ex girlfriend to the ground. Would we still be expected to laugh? We have spent years trying to convince the world that men assaulting women is wrong, and here we have a woman assaulting a man presented as light entertainment. Is that really OK with everyone?
Yes I know this is just a popcorn movie, and I'm not the target audience far too old and boring. But it matters, it's insidious. I don't want my teenagers watching this trash. And the worse part? It was written and directed by a woman. She should be ashamed of herself.
The story is quite fantastical. But once you can go along with the ridiculous plot, it is very funny and totally charming. It's a bit like eating liquid chocolate, and somehow manages to last for 2 hours and 10 minutes without you feeling sick.
At the start of the film, the acting is very hammy, but this removes your desire for believability enough to carry the film. Cameron Diaz and Jude Law look absolutely lovely. Kate Winslett really pulls off her comedic role brilliantly. The are some beautiful touching moments about Hollywood history and a couple of famous faces appear in cameo roles. The English countryside is lovely. Lots of laughter and tears in the audience.
The nutritional value of chocolate is limited. This film will uplift you though if nothing else. Excellent Christmas movie (from a bloke!).
One can of course dismiss this sort of stuff as glossy fairy floss because basically, despite all the money and talent expended in making it, that is what it is - "Love, Improbable." This film is rather long for its genre, over two hours, and it does drag a bit, as if the scriptwriters couldn't decide how to end it. However it must be admitted that Kate Winslett and Jude Law are always interesting to watch on screen and Cameron Diaz has a nice line in parodying some of her earlier performances. Rufus Sewell shows he can out-act Hugh Grant any day (not hard I guess). Jack Black on the other hand seemed strangely out of place as Ms W's love interest – romantic comedy doesn't seem to be his forte, he's more of your gross-out guy. It was nice though to see Eli Wallach, a great Hollywood tough guy of old, who at 90 seems to have the market for nice old buffers sewn up, as the neighbour.
Perhaps I am setting my standard too high, but compared to "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Notting Hill", "Bedrooms and Hallways" and even "Love, Actually", this was a pile of mush, far too sweet and sticky and nice. Good comedy needs a certain bite, a reality bite, a bit of astringency, whereas what we are given here is pure fairyland escapism. Writer/Director Nancy Myers has a record of light entertaining stuff ("The Parent Trap", "Father of the Bride") and she certainly is not trying to extend her range here.
Previous comments on this film have already said it as well as I can but I really want to save people from wasting time and money and try to persuade them to see something else instead. If you're convinced of this already but you're being dragged along by your girlfriend, stop her, because she'll dislike this movie too.
The movie doesn't even live up to its genre. There is no romance in it - any sexual frisson having been replaced by awkward moments badly acted, and there is no comedy in it - just cringey moments delivered by (you guessed it) more bad acting. I could go on about the script being predictable and tired. Indeed most failed movies go back as far as script or storyline calibre; but not as far as the initial premise which, in this case is okay if not a little familiar to Hollywood punters.
However the main thing you'll find is you don't care for the plight of the characters because they're badly drawn, do unrealistic things and we see neither enough of their back-story or their relationships developing with each other.
I'm a real fan of the cast; top actors such as Law and Winslet, a great comedian in Black and, when well cast, a huge talent in Diaz. I really felt for the actors combined career low-point and hope they will recover.
The movie business seems to be driven by money rather than story-telling and in this the movie will no doubt succeed. But there are many examples of strong RomCom scripts so I don't think we should excuse the producers. Meg Ryan or Hugh Grant is practically a seal of approval and then there's Bridget Jones, Forget Paris, If Lucy Fell to name a few.
I was laughing in the wrong places, cringing at the (assumed) intended jokes, planning my week in my head during most of it and feeling utterly tortured and cheated out of 2 hours of my life afterwards.
Sincerely hoping Meyers doesn't write any more screenplays. Failing that, sincerely hoping no more of Meyers screenplays are made into film. Craig
In conclusion, if you want to numb your brain and do have a few hours and a bit of money to waste, by all means go and see this.
Oh dear. Surely there is only so much twee, fluffy cuteness and cliché that one film can contain - well you'd think so, anyway - but this one goes for the all time record.
The cinematic equivalent of eating a half-ton marshmallow sprinkled in artificial sweetener. Had I not been trapped in the middle of a row I would have walked out - very rare for me - as more and more sappy piffle, two-dimensional characters and paint-by-numbers acting were paraded before me.
If you are someone who harbours any kind of suspicion that it might be possible to live some fragment of a fulfilling life whilst - dare I say it - single, then please learn from my mistake and do not waste two precious hours of your life on this film. Sticking your fingers down your throat is a cheaper and much more expeditious means of achieving the same effect without having your intelligence insulted.
1.) Cameron Diaz is the personification of nails on a chalkboard in this movie.
2.) The musical score (if it should even be called that) is pathetic, cloying and wantonly manipulative, which really could describe most of the movie in general, too.
3.) Those who can act are given such tripe for dialogue that I was embarrassed for them--painfully so: I had to literally pull my coat over my eyes during the worst scenes.
And last but perhaps most telling:
4.) This film brought tears of sadness to the eyes of some one who saw it with me. We thought this film would be MERELY lame or predictable. However, it was BAD. Not even "good bad". Rarely is such a predictable movie so unpredictably this bad.
"The Holiday"'s cast is top notch, except for the terminally mediocre Jack Black, whose entire film career is some sort of cosmic joke.
The very best thing about "The Holiday" is Eli Wallach's relatively large part as a great writer from Hollywood's Golden Era. Wallach is especially strong; being ninety years old does not diminish his charisma one whit.
It's ironic that a movie with such a disaster of a script features a character playing a classic Hollywood writer, who makes repeated reference to well-written chick flicks from yesteryear.
Jude Law is very winning here. He juggles his external beauty and inner complexity marvelously.
Miffy Englefield and Emma Pritchard are adorable as moppet sisters too cute to live.
Oh, but the script. It's drek. It's an insult. It's a random jumble of utterly bogus settings and complications that some cold heart in marketing stitched together, convinced that this would rake in some dough. You've got Christmas trees, poignant reunions, and tears that appear on cue.
You know, I saw "Apocalypto" this weekend as well, and, of the two, "Apocalypto" was the feel good movie, and "The Holiday" filled me with rage. One had some integrity; the other was an empty exercise in marketing.
How stupid do the folks who made this movie think women are? The answer is very grim.
Save your bucks; stay home, and watch one of the classic chick flick films this movie keeps talking about.
If you're tired of holiday films that are so stacked with so much Christmas cheer that it makes you sick, this is the perfect alternative. Light enough for some serious laughs, and with enough drama to keep it interesting to audiences, this one's a good date movie. Leave the kids with a sitter. There are a few adult themes that could be uncomfortable to try to explain to a younger one.
Oh Yes! The plot. Cameron Diaz (five miles OTT) is Amanda, an American cinema trailer editor with her own business. After dumping her man (Ed Burns) because he slept with his secretary she desires to get away from Los Angeles to a place where there are no males. After chatting on the computer with Iris (Kate Winslet) they agree to swap places for a few weeks or so. After arriving in England, Amanda finds herself falling in love with Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law) and Iris at Amanda's place, bonds with an old screenwriter veteran (the magnificent Eli Wallach) and slowly, SLOWLY falls for film composer and Amanda's work colleague Miles (Jack Black, on autopilot).
This is one of those films that tries too hard to make you feel good and warm inside, like the Al Pacino film Frankie and Johnny. Anyone who is a bad egg gets their just deserts and anyone who is a good person triumphs in the end up. Not my cup of tea.
However, Cameron Diaz is absolutely beautiful in every scene shes in. And the scene where Iris is telling Miles about her unrequited love for Jasper (Rufus Sewell) while he listens had me in tears of laughter when it reminded me of the scene in Airplane! when Ted Striker is boring the old woman passenger to death about his love for Elaine.
If there are any witty scenes in this dross, its when Miles and Iris are in a DVD rental store and Dustin Hoffman has a five second cameo, when you see it you'll smirk. The rest is utter garbage.
Nancy Myers self-indulgent look into her own fantasy of life that no-one else could possibly care about. With the one occasional exception of Kate Winslet, I didn't believe a word from any of these characters. Explain how the Jude Law character is supposed to be such a perfect father that he goes out regularly to get drunk and spend the night unexpectedly at his sister's house while I guess his kids fend for themselves?!!! Why does every character jump up and down like a 6 year old. OK, I did believe the cameo and unintentionally apt line of disgust from Dustin Hoffman..."can't go anywhere...'" Take all that and multiply it by 136 excruciatingly long minutes and you might find something to cry about after all.
The word 'money' has also been revolving around my brain, as in this sentence: 'Why did these stars do it? They don't need the money, surely?' What in the name of all that is an actress with the talent of Kate Winslet (who I last saw in Extras, for goodness sake)doing in this dog-muck? And Jude Law also? Their careers deserve a couple of years of freefall after this. And Jack Black? The magnificent tyro of School of Rock? Your cred is in the shredder, baby (Mind you, he did, come to think of it, at times look embarrassed, so perhaps there is hope for him after all). Did someone threaten to kill their parents or children if they didn't do it? It must be that or something like that: there is no other rational explanation.
I was in physical pain whilst watching it in Chesterfield last evening. If the extraordinary cynicism of its religious adherence to every immoral and unethical strand of formula-Hollywood drek in here isn't bad enough: if the fact that the script that could have been written by a 12 year old dewy-eyed girl weaned and educated on every piece of schlock Disney every produced, or some kind of parodist with nothing better to do, but was apparently written by an adult isn't bad enough; if the torrent of clichés isn't bad enough - including the intensely vomit-inducing, utterly laughable inclusion of olde-tyme Golden Age of Hollywood writer winning a lifetime achievement award scene - AND CAN I TELL ANY American READING THIS THAT IT HASN'T SNOWED IN THE COUNTY OF SURREY BEFORE AND AROUND Christmas FOR ABOUT 40 YEARS?; if the complete lack of verisimilitude to real life, like the fact that women of thirty-odd don't make love in bra-tops, isn't bad enough; if the fact that Jude Law's character begins as a woman-a-night beer-slugging rogue then by half way becomes a winsomely sincere widowed single Dad who adores his two girls (and one is called 'Miffy' in real life: for God's sake, what next?!)isn't bad enough; if the fact that Cameron Diaz's 'performance' was the most embarrassing I've ever seen isn't bad enough; if the woolly mammoth-esquire touch of the miserable, shoddy direction isn't bad enough; if the fact that the studio thinks this pathetic nonsense is so good they let it stretch on for over two hours isn't bad enough, then the fact that these film-makers actually gave this evil monster of a movie pretensions to intelligence and relationship-profundity most certainly is.
I was going to say that The Holiday is an insult to anyone who ever went to school and earned a single GCSE pass or a 25-metre swimming certificate, until I logged on here and found that people presumably over the age of 12 actually liked it. Tell me again: you actually liked this film?
And to pass off Cary Grant as coming from Surrey - "I know!" pipes Kate, ecstatically when the old geezer tells her this - is mind-numbing is what is tells us about the attitude of studio producers (and for good measure, this director and screenplay writer)to all of us: factual accuracy in movies: "Forget it, it doesn't matter, because you numbskulls, chuckleheads, mimbos and bimbos chewing popcorn and sucking down Coke won't notice and don't matter." For the record, just in case no-one else has mentioned it in this review section - and do forgive me for not reading every single one because to me, suicide is immoral - Cary Grant was brought up (or 'raised' for you USA'ers) in Bristol, which is a port in Gloucestershire, which is in the west of England and therefore, nowhere near bloody Surrey.
So The Holiday takes its place in my pantheon of the absolute and utter crap where it joins Orlando, The Piano and Cronenberg's Crash. It makes for a very strange bedfellow. I suppose this proves that if there's one thing worse than a supposedly intelligent art-house movie that stinks the place out from sheer badness and pretentiousness, it's a movie which by all that is sacred should be presented as being as dumb as it looks and which doesn't so much insult the intelligence and good nature of the audience as trample up and down on it with hobnail boots with sharp nails sticking out of the sole, pointy end down.
I came home, switched on the TV and watched an hour of House. All, thankfully, is not lost. Yet.
PS Since more and more people have logged on to the website to sing the praises - supposedly - of this film, I have become completely convinced that all of them, especially the one's saying, 'Phew, thank Heaven for romance', are kidding. No one intelligent enough to press the 'On' button on a computer can possibly like this movie: it is, simply, the worst movie ever made.
The story starts with Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) fed up with their love lives; Amanda's boyfriend has been cheating on her and the man Iris loves has just got engaged to someone else. They both decide to switch houses for Christmas for an escape from their complicated lives; so Iris jets off to Amanda's place in sunny L.A and Amanda goes to Iris' quaint cottage in snowy Surrey, England (if only it really did snow at Christmas!) Amanda soon meets Iris' handsome brother Graham (Brilliantly played by Jude Law) and Iris meets musician Miles (Jack Black) and you can guess the rest...
The acting is strong and well handled. At first i found Cameron Diaz hugely annoying but as it went on i warmed to her character; she and Jude had lots of chemistry and their relationship was handled well and Graham's secret was a good twist.
I thought Jack Black was great in this different role, he and Kate also had chemistry and he was totally believable. I wish their storyline had been a bit longer though as they spent way more time on Cameron and Jude's part.
Kate Winslet as usual was funny and touching as Iris and maybe one of the best parts of the film was her relationship with the old man (Eli Wallach) they both seemed to have a connection and it was nice to hear his stories of when he was a writer in the good old Hollywood days when he knew Cary Grant and co! If you want beautiful scenery, escapism from the millions of horror and action films out there and good characterisation, than this is for you. It's not as soppy as other rom/com's and it's easy to identify with the characters, it's also very festive and my dad even liked it and he hates romantic films!
Jude Law makes a really good Graham. This is one of his first films that he plays a father in and he does it so well. He is fun loving and so sweet. The first scene that he is in with Cameron Diaz in which he kisses her eyes is so romantic. It makes all of us single girls just want to keep Jude on our couch and not let him get away. The kitchen scene is just a heart melting, gut wrenching, make your husband look out.
Jack Black is displaying a different role as Miles. This shows that he has a softer side and is willing to step out a traditional role that we are so used to seeing him in. He still does display the comedy that we are used to seeing but it is downplayed.
The music helps set the mood in this movie. It is all tamed down and helps to set the feeling of again I must say romance. It makes it so easy to watch and if you can find a guy that will sit down and watch this with you it will create feelings that may lead to something else.
Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet make this movie great. They both shine equally and neither tries to steal the limelight. This is one of the first roles that Kate has done as a comedy and it she does it very well.
The acting, for a start, is very sub par particularly from Cameron Diaz and Jack Black. Kate Winslet does the best she can with the poor script while Jude Law is the same as always! The star of the film by a long way is Eli Wallach, who delivers a top notch performance.
There are too many scenes (particularly in the beginning) with just one character (Winslet or Diaz) in it. The actors narrate every single movement they make during these scenes which I found very irritating.
The plot is so clichéd its amusing. This is a combination of many other run of the mill Christmas films. The characters are very clichéd, particularly Jude Law. They cram more clichés into Jude Law than I thought possible.
I enjoyed 'What Women Want' and expected an awful lot more from this. There is so little comedy in it, it could barely qualify as a romantic comedy. Kate Winslet's character is so so silly, it beggars belief. Please go and see something else instead. Try renting out Little Miss Sunshine or something.