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Monday, 29 January 2007

'The Holiday'

On Saturday I went to the movies with a friend. The movie which we wanted to see (‘Blood Diamond’) was booked out so we ended up seeing ‘The Holiday’, a festive romantic comedy starring the oh-so-pretty Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jack Black.

The story focuses on Iris and Amanda, two thirty-something women fed up with their lives, looking for escape this holiday season. They participate in a house-swap in the vein of ’Tara Road’ by Maeve Binchy. Amanda flees to the English countryside and Iris heads to Los Angeles to live it up in Amanda’s swanky pad. A romance blossoms between Amanda and Graham (Law) while Iris and Miles (Black) develop a lean-on-me relationship as each try to figure out their love life.

When I got past the fact that I wasn’t going to see the violent seriousness of ‘Blood Diamond’ (bummer) I started to get fired up about ‘The Holiday’. I find Black hilarious (loved ‘School of Rock), I like Diaz’s sense of comic-timing too. I had yet to see a movie starring Winslet that I disliked and as I said above, Law is the ultimate pretty boy.

But this movie did not work for me.

‘Why?’ you ask.

Well for starters, there is absolutely no romantic chemistry in this movie. I would be willing to bet that Jude and Cameron never went out for an after-work drink when shooting this movie. And to be honest I expected this liaison to be the main relationship in ‘The Holiday’. They look good together don’t they? And they come across as people who would get along well together in interviews and the likes but alas, they seemed like strangers throughout the movie.

So what was the main relationship in ‘The Holiday’?

Not Winslet’s relationship with Black, that’s for sure. They spend most of the film desperately in love with other people. For Winslet, it’s her slimy boss Jasper (doesn’t that name say it all) played by Rufus Sewell, and for Black it’s some air-headed model only in it for the money. They come to depend on each other for comfort sharing their trouble over sushi and popcorn.

I found the main relationship in ‘The Holiday’ to be the rapport shared between Iris and the sweet old man living next door to Amanda. The sweet old man is Arthur (Eli Wallach) a washed-up Hollywood director who some big movie people want to award a lifetime achievement honour . Arthur, being an old man, is of course grumpy and doesn’t want any award, but Iris takes over fairy godmother-style as she knows that this award means a lot to Arthur underneath it all. (All together now……………… ‘Awwwwwww’)

The high points of this movie for me? There ain’t many.

My favourite character was Iris, I felt she was the most developed character in ‘The Holiday’. I consider Kate Winslet to be one of the best actresses in the industry at the moment and she did her best with the script. It did irritate me that Iris was so hung up on Jasper when he was such an a**hole, but I think that is true to life. So many women are attracted to men who are bad to them.

I also enjoyed Arthur, sweet old men always get me. But that said he is very one-dimensional, the typical Hollywood sweet old man, grumpy and irritable on the outside but soft as butter on the inside.

And now, onto the bad points.

In short, everything else.

As I already said I didn’t buy Graham and Amanda’s relationship. I think this was because of the lack of chemistry, weak acting on Law’s part and Amanda being completely unlikeable. I just found her too cold, and I could not sympathise with her.

In regards to the California side of things, I wasn’t really into Miles. I hate to say it, but I don’t think Black can do serious acting.

And I didn’t buy into how quickly the relationship between Iris and Miles changed. I mean seriously, you don’t go from being totally in love with someone one day, to flying across the world to spend Christmas with someone else the next.

One thing that really niggled at me throughout ‘The Holiday’ was that there were new born lambs in the English fields. Lambs. In December. But this won’t bother you unless you have a sheep farmer in the family like myself.

And seeing as I saw this on the 27th January, the cheesy Christmas songs drove me crazy, but even if you saw this movie on Christmas Day, I don’t believe you’d leave the theatre feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

Rating: 19/50

Harsh I know, but this really was a dud for me.

But if you don't trust me and think I'm talking out of my arse you can click here and find out all you want to know about The Holiday.

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