Take a well-deserved "Holiday"

Dec. 22, 2006, midnight | By Kate Harter | 17 years, 7 months ago

New comedy is a guilty pleasure

Ever wish you could just take a quick holiday? Leave town—and everyone in it—and just set off on an adventure by yourself for two weeks, so that you can start over? In "The Holiday," Amanda and Iris are able to do just that.

When Amanda (Cameron Diaz), a busy body woman living in LA, finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her, she decides she needs a vacation. Thousands of miles away in Surrey, England, Iris (Kate Winslet) is brutally shown the truth about the love of her life: that he will never love her back. The two strangers decide that the only way to deal with their situations is to get away. When Amanda finds Iris's house on a site for house swaps, the women decide to switch homes (and lives)—but only after Iris assures Amanda that there are zero guys in Surrey. But soon after moving into Iris's home, Amanda meets Graham (Jude Law), Iris's brother, and it turns out that there are in fact, guys in town. Back in LA, Iris meets Miles (Jack Black), Amanda's ex's pal, and the two become fast friends. Even though Amanda and Iris left their lives briefly to get away from men, love catches up with them in one way or another.

Kate Winslet, well known for big hits such as "Titanic" and "Finding Neverland," plays a much more realistic character than in most of her previous films. She takes a break from playing old-fashioned roles and instead does a fine job portraying a woman much like many other women today.

Jude Law, similar to Winslet, shows that he can handle any sort of character. He's been everything from a robot ("Artificial Intelligence"), to a wounded soldier ("Cold Mountain"), but in "The Holiday," Law plays an attractive single man with a secret double life, a new role that he handles particularly well.

Cameron Diaz and Jack Black, on the other hand, who are mostly known as being silly, stupid-but-funny characters, do not stray from their norms. They make the audience laugh, but you shouldn't expect any surprises from these two. Granted, Black does try to add a more somber aspect to his character (he is a composer who takes his work very seriously) but all the audience sees is the same Jack Black who has played the same character in every other movie.

Director Nancy Meyers, writer of "Something's Gotta Give" and 1998's "The Parent Trap," hasn't put together a masterpiece in the least, but she does a sufficient job nonetheless. "The Holiday" is cleverly put together and gives the audience something fun and light to laugh at, even though it won't be up for any Oscars. There are touching parts and amusing parts that, mixed together, provide a pretty nice treat for viewers. Don't expect anything crazy or out-there, or any rolling-on-the-floor-laughing moments, but it is definitely safe that say that many will be pleased with the film.

If you're busy this weekend, don't bother canceling any previous engagements to check out this latest romantic comedy for the holidays; but if you have some spare time, it wouldn't hurt for you to spend a few dollars for a carefree, fun couple of hours.

The Holiday (now showing in area theatres) runs 138 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sexual content and some strong language

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