by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Cameron Diaz as AMANDA
Kate Winslet as IRIS
Jude Law as GRAHAM
Jack Black as MILES
Eli Wallach as ARTHUR
Edward Burns as ETHAN
Rufus Sewell as JASPER
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Directed by: Nancy Meyers
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I’m not like your average film critic. Most critics cannot stand romantic comedies. They criticize them for being rote, pedantic and formulaic. They also nail this film category because they always end with a happy ending. I never quite understood what the critical fascination is with downer endings, actually.
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I, however, tend to enjoy romantic comedies – at least the good ones. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of clunkers out there. However, a great romantic comedy can be a lot of fun. My wife is a huge fan, so if it’s a good movie, we can always agree on it.
I consider Nancy Meyers to be the queen of romantic comedies. I’ve seen most of the films she has directed, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. I’ve even enjoyed most of the films she has written (with the possible exception of “I Love Trouble,” but that may be more Nick Nolte’s fault than Nancy Meyers’). Some might say she has yet to top Nora Ephron, but I only have to point to films like “Lucky Numbers” and “Bewitched” to prove them wrong.
What makes Meyers such an incredible director in a specific genre is the fact that she embraces it. I’ve never heard her bellyaching that she wants to direct the insane action picture or the story of the crack whore with a heart of gold. She knows what she does best, and she does it almost flawlessly.
Part of what helps, as is evidenced in her latest film “The Holiday,” is that she writes the scripts herself. This is actually where she started, with movies like “Father of the Bride.” Early in her career, people might have thought that her ex-husband and frequent collaborator Charles Shyer to be the magic behind the projects.
However, when she broke off with directorial efforts like “The Parent Trap,” it was clear she was one of the better directors out there, male or female. She’ll probably never win an Oscar for directing, unless she does that crack whore with a heart of gold film, and she seems perfectly comfortable with that. I respect the hell of this.
“The Holiday” follows the lives of two women – one from England and the other from L.A. – who swap lives for two weeks over the Christmas holiday. Both women are doing this to get away from their complicated love lives. Of course, they soon discover new things in their new lives, including new guys for them to fall in love with.
“The Holiday” is a warm, charming, extremely clever and often hilarious romantic comedy that will be a sure-fire date movie for any guy looking to please his significant other. It delivers two love stories, with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law delivering the one about tall, thin, pretty people and Kate Winslet and Jack Black delivering one about short, chubby, awkward people. See... it’s got something for everyone.
From seeing most of Nancy Meyers’ films, I can honestly say that she exudes a friendly atmosphere in almost everything she does. If I were in L.A. actively involved in working in film, I’d love to work with her. While most of her movies can easily be described as “nice nice,” that’s completely okay. There’s a warm, honesty and fun flavor about her movies.
In the commentary of the film, Meyers talks about how she shot footage for fake films that Amanda is editing. Without being a notorious name-dropper, she casually explains how she used her friendly acquaintances with people like Lindsay Lohan and even her ex-husband Charles Shyer to help her put this together.
In addition to a commentary with Meyers and special guests, there’s a lengthy making-of documentary. Although the DVD isn’t loaded with special features, the movie itself is a charm and continues Meyers’ tradition of quintessential romantic comedies.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Mastered in high-definition. French language track. French and Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.