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Xmas: 'The Holiday' (2006) Dir. Nancy Meyers

Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Shannyn Sossamon, Rufus Sewell, Edward Burns and Dustin Hoffman


The best way to get over heart-break is to get away from everything you've ever known for a well deserved holiday; but sometimes that can change your life when you least expected it to...

Los Angeles workaholic Amanda Woods (Diaz) has been cheated on and needs a break. London journalist Iris Simpkins (Winslet) needs to escape the man she loves who has countless "other women" on his arm. Both find each other over the internet via a home exchange and swap homes for 2 weeks.

Amanda travels to the Cotswolds, England into a countryside cottage in the middle of Winter and meets Iris's brother Graham (Law), and the two strike up a on/off romance. Iris travels to Los Angeles, America and takes on a hillside mansion and meets Amanda's friend Miles (Black), and the two discover shared passions.

The two ladies struggle to battle their inner demons as Graham and Miles start to change both their lives. If they choose to let them in or not is another matter...

Ushered into the spirit of Christmas (just), with lots of snow and cosy British moments for Cameron Diaz and Jude Law to gush over, this film also presents a sun-soaked Crimbo for Kate Winslet and Jack Black. However you see it, I feel this is two mini-movies with both leading ladies having links to each-other via their leading man. One works, for me, the other doesn't.

Diaz and Law don't work for me. It's a predictable, boring and irritating relationship they have made mildly humane by the introduction of children. Law comes over firstly like he's a decent bloke but rapidly descends into an obsessed stalker after only a few meetings. And Diaz is one of that actresses who I can't see her act anything else other than stupid-but-trying-to-be-serious-so-the-stupid-parts-look-funny. Her gurning, her Joker-grin and her inflated ego wind me up and I find their story of will they / won't they very boring.

However Kate Winslet, a wonderful actress who is very grounded and capable of so much, is fantastic. Jack Black is also great when not acting the fool and both work so well together, with their story introducing other characters, themes and a wider array of locations and morals they must conquer, rather than just decide if the sex they have is worth a long-distance relationship. Yawn.

It never drags, and is well made and has a good central story, but it's the first half of the story that I can easily turn off for, and jump straight back into the second.

It's sweet, emotional and entertaining with great performances on one hand, but also drawn-out and boring on the other. It's up to you which (or both) stories you choose to love and / or hate.

'The Holiday' is a Columbia Pictures / Universal Pictures / Relativity Media / Waverly Films production

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