The Holiday

By  · Published on December 7th, 2006

Release Date: December 8, 2006

As Ron Burgundy would say, “I am a man! A man who invented the wheel and fire!” And then he would go into some nonsensical rant about the size of women’s brains, but I am not going to do that. The statement that I am a man is supposed to somehow reaffirm my masculinity right before I go on to talk about The Holiday, which is set to be released on Friday starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. During this review I will use such emasculating words as “cute” and “charming” and I may also refer to Jack Black as “adorable”. But setting these atrocities of manhood aside, I would like to actually talk about the movie.

If you have seen the trailer for The Holiday, you are already thinking that it is just another chick flick released just in time to remind all of those without love in their life that it is Christmas and they are doomed to be alone. It is also just in time to remind guys like me that it is Christmas and I do have someone in my life, whom I have yet to get any sort of gift. But this movie, while it does take place during Christmas, is less about The Holidays and more about taking a Holiday from your life, and how it can ultimately save you from yourself.

Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play two women on the opposite ends of the world (Los Angeles and London) who are alike in one particular way, they are both losers in love. Amanda (Diaz) is a neurotic , and sometimes over the top, movie trailer producer who throws out her then boyfriend (Ed Burns) who cheated on her because he was sexually starved. Iris (Winslet) is a compassionate and intelligent journalist who has just found out that the man she has been hopelessly in love with for years is getting engaged to another woman. Both women need a break from their lives, and they very quaintly meet online to arrange an exchange of their lives houses for two weeks.

Hell bent on relaxing and not finding any men, the two women do just that, find some great guys in their new vicinities that breathe a bit of fresh life into their chilling love lives. Jude Law plays Iris’ brother, who comes drunk-knocking on Amanda’s door and then woos her with his slurring charm. It is a character, for Law, that is a bit different than what we have seen from him in the past. He brings back a bit of the coyness that we saw in Closer, with a dash of fun. Ladies will enjoy the immense screen time that he gets, and the various stages of undress that he finds himself in throughout the film.

As for Iris, she also finds a little slice of heaven in L.A. in the form of movie score composer Miles, played by Jack Black. Black’s performance in the film really gives it some great, honest humor. To put it short and sweet, Miles is nothing short of adorable as he befriends and ultimately wins the heart of Iris.

But as you can imagine, things become a bit complicated when the couples return back to reality and recognize that the two women must eventually leave their vacations and return to their otherwise unattractive realities, leaving the audience to spend the rest of the way trying to figure out which will win out in the end, love or harsh reality.

Overall this film is one of the best date movies I have seen this year. Women will enjoy the eye candy of Jude Law as well as the relatable nature of the film’s basic theme. For us guys, the film is paced extremely well so it move quickly. As well, it turns out to be funny enough to be a palatable chick flick. Think How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days meets Love Actually. And there are a few downsides, as the movie is pretty long at just over 2 hours, but it is all made up for by the afore mentioned good pacing and the even more impressive performances. Credit director and cast for that.

If you are like me, and you enjoy these types of films, then you will have no problem adding The Holiday to your list of “must see’s”. If you aren’t, then you may want to give it a chance anyway, you never know how it may turn out.

Final Grade: B+

The Upside: Great acting, a solid story and some good humor make for a good time at the movies.

The Downside: The film is long…

On the Side: This film was written specifically with actors Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black in mind.

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)