Thursday, September 18, 2008

Screening Log - The Holiday

Ah, the power of low expectations.

I went into 'The Holiday' with vague memories of the dismemberment the flick underwent at the hands of reviewers a couple years back, and I was braced for the worst.

What I got instead was... a mixed bag.

Jack Black as Mr. Nice Guy, a devoted softie who always gets the shaft? Come on. The man has evil (or at least, mischief) in his eyes at all times. Call me narrow minded, but I couldn't see it. But on the other hand, Jude Law as Hot Dad? I've never been a Jude woman (or, for that matter, a Hot Dad woman) but damn, the scene with the girls slayed me. Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet did their things, I guess, but both characters were so extreme - Extremely Emotionally Repressed, and Extreme Doormat, respectively - that they were hard to relate to, or take seriously at key moments. (Really? She can't cry? Really??)

Still, with those rock-bottom expectations as my starting point, I enjoyed the movie a lot. The ode to Hollywood's Golden Age was inexplicably tangential, but the relationship between Winslet's Iris and Eli Wallach's Arthur was, for me, more interesting than any of the romances beginning and ending on the main stage.

Plus, for once, it was a flick about women seizing control of their problems and (pardon the Oprah moment) making positive change in their lives. Sure, sure, the men come along for the ride, but really this was all about Iris and Amanda being pro-active - for maybe the first time ever? - about their own happiness.

And that's worth raising a glass to, during this rapidly-approaching holiday season. Am I right?

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