Kate Winslett, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black and Jude Law star in The Holiday, a sappy romantic comedy-drama that makes you want to go on vacation five minutes into this snore-fest.
Winslett and Diaz star as two scorned women who, to escape their emotions and the men in their lives, decide to swap homes for the holidays. Diaz, who plays a rich movie advertising executive, travels to a remote town in England where she immediately finds herself stuck in a small house with no one around, while Winslett has quite the opposite bit of luck, as she finds herself in a mansion surrounded by rich and famous people. Diaz, on the verge of leaving the next day, happens to run into Winslett's brother, played by Law, and quickly has a change of heart. Winslett, on the other hand, strikes up a friendship with Mr. Black, and the movie progresses from there.
While The Holiday is primarily a comedy (or attempts to be), it is, ultimately, a look at two depressed women who are trying to get over their emotional ties to previous men. Winslett's story, as you might imagine, is a little more interesting, as she has committed herself to being friends with a man who no longer loves her, but who still takes advantage of her at the cost of her own emotional sanity. While she quickly finds friends in Hollywood, she continues to hold onto a love that is no longer in her life. On the flipside, Diaz and Law hit it off right away in a more banter-filled, sexual way, and their relationship develops in such a way that both try to keep it a fling despite their obvious feelings for one another.
Thankfully, The Holiday does not blatantly flip between one genre and the other on a whim, but it does consistently blend drama and comedy, and it really doesn't do it well. When it tries to be funny, it is barely funny, and when it tries to be dramatic, it is barely dramatic. The end result is a movie that dabs at both genres but never commits to anything, and we're left with a dull, hard-to-pay-attention-to-even-if-you-are-tied-down-with-your-eyelids-open kind of way.
Diaz's character really didn't do it for me, as her attempts to be funny just fall flat. Law is better, and both Winslett and Black are okay, but no one really looks like they have much interest in the project. Winslett seems the most out of place, as she is used to much better material than this. A comedy-drama that is not funny is no place for someone as talented as her.
The Holiday would have been a lot better had the movie just removed Diaz and Law altogether and focused on Winslett and Black. The movie would have been substantially shorter (compared to the 2 hour and 12 minute running time) and the story could have been fleshed out a bit more. As is, The Holiday features two different stories shoved together without much overlap at all, and the result is an under-developed, unfunny and boring romantic comedy.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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