The Holiday – DVD Review

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Universal & Columbia Pictures present The Holiday. Written by Nancy Meyer. 136 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some strong language.

Directed By:

Nancy Meyer


Cameron Diaz ………. Amanda
Kate Winslet ………. Iris
Jude Law ………. Graham
Jack Black ………. Miles
Eli Wallach ………. Arthur
Edward Burns ………. Ethan
Rufus Sewell ………. Jasper

The Film:

At its heart, The Holiday is a run of the mill, predictable, harmless romantic comedy. While there are a few nuggets of joy tossed in to elevate it slightly above the genre, there are also moments that drag it down into the doldrums.

This film is really two stories. On one hand we have Amanda (Diaz), a movie trailer producer who just found out her boyfriend Ethan (Burns) has been cheating on her. Across the Atlantic we have Iris (Winslet) who has just found out the man she loves (Sewell) has gotten engaged to another woman. Both looking to escape from their misery they find each other through a house swapping website and do just that. Amanda goes to England and Iris comes to L.A. Of these two stories one of them is really good, the other really bad.

Iris is elated to arrive at Amanda’s house and find is a ten times the size of her tiny cottage. Things get even better when she meets Miles, a film composer. Miles is dating an actress but there is an obvious instant attraction between the two. Had the film just been Iris’s story it would have been fantastic! Winslet is great as always and Black is the real shining star as the lovable and low-key Miles. He is hilarious but not over the top on any level. If there’s any question concerning whether or not Black can be diverse, this role should answer that question. Iris also meets her next-door neighbor Arthur (Wallach), a retired screenwriter from the golden age of Hollywood and they quickly become friends. There is plenty of engaging story here to fill out an entertaining hour and a half.

However, we have another story going on here too. Amanda isn’t as thrilled to be in England as she thought she would be. That is until she meets Graham (Law), Iris’s brother. The big thing holding this whole film back is Cameron Diaz. Her performance is atrocious. Having never been a strong actress, Diaz has at least proved that she has some talent, such as her roll in In Her Shoes. For some reason, though, any semblance of talent she’s got was left at home. Law picks up the stack most the time but never enough to save this lackluster story.

What’s even more frustrating is that the Amanda/Graham story gets far more screen time, leaving the viewer yearning for Iris and Miles to return to the screen. The film is also over two hours long, which was completely unnecessary. With a five plus minute montage of Amanda and Miles running around a garden, there is plenty of fat that could have been trimmed here.

A low-key Jack Black woos the lovely Kate Winslet.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1. There is really nothing special about the way this film was shot. All the cinematography is pretty humdrum. However, the transfer is great and the picture quality is of the quality one expects to get these days.

The Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. Nothing really stand out going on here either. The score is forgettable and there is nothing here to really utilize the 5.1. However, the dialog is crisp and clear and in a film like this I guess that’s all you could really ask for.


Commentary with Nancy Meyers & Guests: This is a pretty decent commentary. Meyers is very well spoken and keeps the listener engaged. On top of that various other people stop in for a few minutes to put in their two cents, one of these people being Hans Zimmer, composer. As far as insight go it’s a pretty typical commentary, Meyers discusses every facet of the making of the film and any fan of the movie will enjoy this.

Foreign Exchange: The Making of The Holiday:This has puff piece written all over it. However the interviews with Jack Black are entertaining. He talks about how great it was getting paid to stare at Kate Winslet all day.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Holiday
(OUT OF 10)






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