by Clint Fletcher
There is only one filmmaker out there today that has the ability to repeatedly churn out decent chick flicks. Her name is Nancy Meyers. And not only has she written flicks like Private Benjamin, Baby Boom and Father of the Bride, she’s also the girl behind the camera for What Women Want and Something’s Gotta Give. Meyers is also known for high budgets, glamorous set pieces and recruiting A-list stars. But sadly, The Holiday is Meyers’ weakest movie to date.
The Holiday is a classic example of giving a filmmaker way too much power and money. This flick reportedly cost about $90 million, probably thanks to 4 A-list stars. However, the movie’s weaknesses don’t lie with the stars, it lies with the story. This seemingly simple plot-line could’ve been played out in about 90 minutes, but instead its stretched severely to 2 and a half hours of mostly sheer nonsense. On top of this, the screenplay follows no structure whatsoever. In plain terms- its all over the place. The movie doesn’t know where to go so it goes everywhere, in all different directions. First, we have an attractive movie trailer editor (Cameron Diaz) that swaps houses with an English journalist (Kate Winslet) over Christmas break. Both women are running away from heartache in search of a new beginning. Then enter the men. Diaz falls for Winslet’s brother in England (Jude Law) while Winslet falls for one of Diaz’s friends back in LA (saving grace Jack Black). While it would seem wise to bounce back and forth between both story lines, Meyers pays no attention to balance, spending 30 minutes on one couple, 10 on the other, 40 back on the other, so on and so forth.
Unfortunately, an enormous amount of time is spent on the least interesting couple- Diaz and Law. There was nothing remotely interesting about either of these characters excluding the fact that they’re cute to look at. I don’t mind either actors, except that Diaz sometimes comes off as an annoying ditz and no matter what character Law is playing, he comes off as an arrogant prick (as he is in reality) even if he’s portraying a selfless person. But the real spark of the movie is Kate Winslet and Jack Black. Winslet can out-act any actress in Hollywood today, and Black is the only person that puts the “comedy” in this so-called “romantic comedy.” Without these two, the movie would be completely lifeless. Sadly, their performances only bring the movie to a sub-par level.
The Holiday isn’t Christmasy enough to be considered for the holidays or funny enough to be considered a romantic comedy. Its far too long with too many pointless sub-plots (what did the old screenwriter dude have to do with this story???). I would compare it to a Christmas turkey (no pun intended)… the fat needs to be trimmed and the middle needs to be stuffed with some humorous goodness. Save for Winslet and Black, The Holiday should be reserved for next year on home video.