Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Holiday

This is a movie of such unremitting awfulness that the only reason for writing a review is to warn others not to waste over two hours of their lives by watching it. A cast list which includes Jude Law, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet promises much more than this travesty even begins to deliver. Their performances are wooden – nothing they can do can rescue a dire script and confused direction. It wasn’t a low budget film – stars of this fame don’t come cheap and nor does location shooting in Los Angeles as well as England. But every cent of this budget was wasted on a film that has to rate as one of the greatest turkeys of all time.

There is one (just one) positive thing to say and that is that there is a delightful cameo by Eli Wallach as Arthur. An actor as experienced as him must have known that he was in a movie of no merit - but he had the presence of mind, and the presence, to act his far younger fellow actors off the set.

The roots of this farrago lie are the genre of Richard Curtis - but in case you wondered whether writer/director Nancy Meyers has one percent of Cutis’s way with words or ability to create a plot then the answer is clearly no. There are Curtisesque moments but whereas the love affairs in his films (Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Love Actually) are improbable they mostly become believable. The love affairs in The Holiday are as synthetic as the ill chosen soundtrack and the humdrum locations. Kate Winslet is too old to do Bridget Jones and Cameron Diaz needs to learn to whimper and emote less if she is ever to be convincing. The best line in the film is when a little girl calls her a “Barbie”.

When you think how all the money used up on “The Holiday” could have been more wisely spent on half a dozen art house films that might make you think - if not make you weep. This is Hollywood at its absolute worst – a banal confection devoid of interest or merit – in the good old days it wouldn’t even be a decent B movie.