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July 14th, 2006:
The neurotic Amanda (Cameron Diaz
) is perturbed by her recent woes with cheating boyfriend Ethan (Edward Burns
). She has become so disenchanted with everyday life that she decides to escape to England on vacation. Her visit leads to a chance encounter with Iris (Kate Winslet
), whose relationship problems are no less pathetic. In an attempt to escape the stressful circumstances of their lives, the two women agree to a curious exchange of locations. While Iris will settle in Amandaís home in California, Amanda will take Irisí place in England. Although both women find comfort in new scenery at first, it doesnít take long before they fall back into their old habits. Amanda reluctantly starts up a relationship with the handsome Graham (Jude Law
), who wastes no time in charming her off her feet. Meanwhile, Iris meets a playful film composer named Miles (Jack Black
), whose free-spirited attitude is impossible for her to resist as much as she may want to at first. Will the new locations bring the women the happiness they desire or are they both doomed to suffer through miserable partnerships regardless of where they may be?What to Expect:
This should be an absolute cakewalk for writer-director Nancy Meyers
. Her genial romantic comedies are becoming somewhat of a holiday season staple, winning over audiences and the female sex in particular. Both of her last two films, Somethingís Gotta Give and What Women Want, were released in December to positive critical reviews and phenomenal box-office numbers. With writing credits that also include the two Father of the Bride movies and I Love Trouble, Meyers is keenly attuned to the sensibilities of the average theatergoers. While it is true that these are all particularly light and non-threatening features that are not likely to affect global issues, they do deliver on the expectations without overwhelming. The Holiday is essentially a version of The Parent Trap, with grownup stars, for grownup audiences. Ironically, Meyersí directorial debut in 1998 was with her version of The Parent Trap (starring Lindsay Lohan
), which was a remake of a classic to begin with. Article continues below
Reportedly, the casting for the film took forever, which is strange considering that the final selections seem like rather obvious, high profile choices. The two leading ladies are both highly regarded, not only for their physical beauty, but also for their talent Ė two essential qualities in this case. Cameron Diaz is the perfect California girl and Kate Winslet is an ideal contrast as her English counterpart. While the female audience is likely to swoon over the allure of Jude Law, the sole consolation for the guys that get dragged into the theater by their wives or girlfriends will probably be some of the off-beat jesting courtesy of Jack Black. Apparently, the comedian accepted the role because he wanted to make a movie that his mom would not have to be embarrassed by.
The Winslet-Black pairing will probably drive the best moments in the film. Both can be eccentric and I think they will have a good chemistry on the screen. Itís an unusual match-up for a romantic comedy, but thatís precisely why I feel it may be interesting to watch. Iím not quite as sure about the Diaz-Law couple. I think their romance will play out much more traditionally and it seems a bit dull when compared to the Winslet-Black pairing. Additionally, Jude Law just doesnít strike me as a first choice for the romantic lead. In films like Closer, Alfie, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and The Aviator, he exhibited great skill at playing individuals that reach new levels of indifference and arrogance. Heís been so good at it that I have difficulty imagining him as a charming, lovable guy. I almost find the Diaz-Law pairing awkward as a result.
A lot of the plot is being held under wraps, but how many surprises can one really expect from a film that is not likely to stray very far from traditional Hollywood storylines. One can be sure, however, that the characters will be dressed immaculately and will inhabit homes of luxury that far exceeds anything they could possibly afford in real life. I believe it will all boil down to whether both pairs, and consequently both storylines, can be equally interesting. At the moment, I donít feel thatís the case, which could give the comedy a disruptive and uneven quality.In Conclusion:
Without a doubt, The Holiday qualifies as THE chick flick of the year-end season. Thatís a scary term for most males, but I personally donít have anything against romantic comedies or chick flicks as long as they can arouse my curiosity and manage to stay away from the melodrama. Meyers has handled similar material with ease in the past and I donít see anything here that could be deemed self-destructive. I think The Holiday may be a little plain, but it should be an entertaining date movie that attracts audiences well into the New Year.Similar Titles: Something's Gotta Give
, In Her Shoes
, Freaky Friday
, The Parent Trap
, The Family Stone