Wednesday, 23 January 2008

DVD: The Holiday

Lowdown: Changes of continents bring changes in relationship fortunes.
Review:
On paper, The Holiday should have been an innocent way to pass an evening with a smile. No deep Blade Runner like experience, just innocent fun of the type romantic comedies should deliver. Add some big hot shot star names like Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jude Law and the expectations become rather high.
The Holiday revolves around its two female heroines, Diaz and Winslet. Diaz is a financially successful LA producer that knows how to handle business but is terribly bad at relationships, while Winslet is an intelligent British journalist who is terribly in love with a guy that is engaged to another woman while messing with her. Through a chain of events that can only take place in an American film they decide to trade places for a couple of weeks: Diaz will reside in Winslet’s English house and Winslet will reside in Diaz’ mansion.
Guess what? With the transition in place, their love fortunes reverse courses. Diaz falls for Winslet’s borhter, Law, that just happens to drop by, and Winslet gets to know Diaz’ old neighbor (Eli Wallach of Good / Bad / Ugly’s Tuco fame) which opens the door for her to drop her old love subject behind and move to a proper relationship with Jack Black. And they all lived happily ever after, and you can even accuse me for spoiling the film’s end for you if it wasn’t for the DVD cover telling you the same story way before I did.
The Holiday’s problem is not that it’s a formula film. Light years away you know it’s a formula film, but you can still enjoy formula films for some relaxation and a good smile. The Holiday’s problem is that it is so very badly executed.
Where should I start? First, I have identified a severe case of overacting on behalf of the main characters. Diaz is incredibly bad in here (there goes all the admiration acquired during Being John Malkovich) but Winslet gives her some good competition in the field of bad acting. I suspect the true criminal is the director that directed them this way, but why did they cooperate and why didn’t they realize they are plainly bad?
Second, the plot just doesn’t make sense. The entire residential exchange across the seas concept is flawed, especially as both characters agree to it after a two minute chat that follows an even shorter Google search by Diaz. And the way Law meets Diaz is stupid as well: Law is supposedly drunk and wants to spend the night at his sister’s place, but then again – who was taking care of his kids that night when he stayed with Diaz given that later in the film he is portrayed as the perfect widower parent?
There’s much more that is negative about The Holiday (e.g., the portrayal of Diaz as a person that is unable to cry), but still I have to admit there was something inside me that wanted to see The Holiday through. I guess it was the same instinct that makes you want to browse women’s magazines from time to time (when you have a fever and want to lose some IQ points).
Best scene: Naturally, a cameo by Dustin Hoffman.
Picture quality: Very bad indeed! Colors are stupidly badly rendered. The film looks as if you’re watching it through painted glass. Terribly distracting.
Sound quality: Your speakers would be bored to death with this one.
Overall: There’s just that much that the suspension of disbelief can be suspended. 1.5 out of 5 stars.

2 comments:

Wicked Little Critta said...

I felt like this movie was traveling along a bell curve line of goodness. The beginning was trite and annoying, but then as the plot developed it seemed that there was potential for some quality. All to see it completely bomb at the end. What a stupid ending.
And did you also feel like Jack Black was completely lost? Every time he was on screen I felt like someone had drugged him and taped his eyelids open before the scene. I mean, he's a talented performer, but he's not a romantic lead, and Winslet were the anti-chemistry.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I think that's exactly the reason why I hardly bothered to mention Black. It was like he didn't exist.