Friday, May 25, 2007

The in a writer's holiday

The Holiday - Nancy Meyers - 2006 - 5/10


The movie opens with high profile LA movie trailer designer Amanda (Cameron Diaz) breaking up with Ethan (Edward Burns) and being pretty upset, yet unable to cry about Ethan's fairly accurate assessment of her inability to have a genuine relationship. We then see a furiously typing Iris (Kate Winslet), a writer for the London Daily Telegraph crying over an old office love who is newly engaged. Amanda jumps online and finds Iris and they agree to swap houses for two weeks over Christmas. Thank god they found each other so quickly! And that they agreed to hand their houses over to strangers! And that they somehow got keys! But I'll save the critique for later. Amanda finally finds Iris' cute little cottage and is going out of her mind with boredom when Iris' brother Graham (Jude Law) shows up on her door drunk. Being a romantic comedy and the fact that both Jude Law and Cameron Diaz are too attractive to just hold reserved conversations, they soon find themselves falling in love. Back in the states Iris ends her moping to answer the door to welcome Miles (Jack Black), Ethan's friend who came to pick up his stuff. Miles, like Graham, is intrigued by the strange women in front of him and finds a way to bump into her again. You can probably figure out the rest. The only amusing bright spot is Arthur (Eli Wallach), an old screenwriting legend Iris discovers and learns a great deal from.


I guess I started this a little early (see above). But really, the movie was very trying at times. For starters, it was a pretty predictable romantic comedy that checked in around 136 minutes! That's pretty long! That's because Nancy Meyers got aggressive and thought she could easily execute two storylines with four lead actors. What she should have done is pick and choose her stories and actors so we dont end up with half of one and half of another. I basically see the movie as two small movies. The Cameron Diaz-Jude Law plot is a decent drama movie - okay character development where people deal with serious issues. The Kate Winslet-Jack Black plot is a basic romantic comedy with all the trappings. Whereas we get to know Cameron and Jude because they outright talk about themselves, we have to assume a lot about Kate and Jack. Cameron and Jude have all the serious talks, while Kate and Jack share all the cute walks. What's even more frustrating is despite this split you sitll dont know what makes Cameron tick and you sure as hell don't know why Kate and Jack are good for each other. Come to think of it, you know next to nothing about Jack. Another thing, after checking to see if Nancy Meyers wrote "Bridget Jones" (she didnt), I've decided that Nancy Meyers must have really wanted to - because Kate Winslet's storyline is sickeningly similar, almost a carbon copy. The mannerism are similar, her obsessive love even looks like Hugh Grant! By the time all of these things start to stack up, you really start to watch the clock - you know where the movie is going, you know how its going to end...but alas, it just won't end. Speaking of endings, Meyers even manages to botch this ending. I would have thought this quite difficult, but she bungles it quite nicely (I won't give anything away, but seriously, Cameron's character really wouldn't have gotten away with that shit if I was in the kitchen...well, I guess if she looked like Cameron, maybe she would have). Thank God for Jack Black - even in a constrained romantic comedy he shouts out, gets through and makes you laugh. The same goes for Eli Wallach's character who really adds some depth to this movie - depth that could have been further explored if there werent two storylines going on.


If romantic comedies are your thing, and this is on tv, you might want to watch it.

If you liked this movie, watch...
...Bridget Jones's Diary
...High Fidelity
...Love Actually

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