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The Holiday: Frothy and Fun As a Cup of Cocoa

Holiday romantic comedies are bound to be a bit cheesy. When the movie is actually called The Holiday, cheesiness is almost guaranteed. But this latest romp from director Nancy Meyers, which hits theaters tomorrow, rises to the top of its frothy, feel-good genre. The self-aware storyline centers on two women—movie-trailer producer Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and British weddings columnist Iris (Kate Winslet)—who swap houses for the holidays to get away from their less-than-satisfactory love lives. Amanda, who sleeps with her Blackberry and has just ruined another relationship with her workaholism, goes to live in Iris's quaint Surrey cottage, while Iris takes up residence at Amanda's palatial LA haunt to forget her three-year unrequited love.

In the beginning, that scenario lends itself to too many scenes of lonely women talking to themselves; the ones featuring Diaz's high-strung Amanda are nearly intolerable. But when a trio of men enter the picture—including Iris's sexy, suntanned brother Graham (Jude Law)—things get a lot more interesting, so

Shortly after arriving in LA, Iris meets two very different men: a witty film-score composer named Miles (played with rare and refreshing subtlety by Jack Black) and Arthur (Eli Wallach), her octogenarian neighbor who also happens to be a legendary screenwriter. Back in England, Amanda makes the acquaintance of the hunky Graham when he shows up drunk at his sister's cottage, not knowing that she's gone on holiday.

To add drama to many of Amanda's scenes, the director employs a clever device: voice-over narration by that ubiquitous movie-trailer guy. Iris and Arthur, meanwhile, spend lots of time discussing the common conventions of script writing. That film-centric subplot on both continents gives the movie a sort of cheeky self-awareness about its own filmic-ness. That way, when the inevitable romantic-comedy cliches and convenient plot twists sneak in, it's more amusing than annoying.

I don't know what's gotten into me: maybe it's the holiday spirit or that my viewing of "The Holiday" comes on the heels of watching one of the worst romantic comedies I've even seen, Trust the Man, on a recent plane ride. (It wasn't even mentioned in the in-flight magazine, which makes me suspect that we were being subjected to a bizarre social experiment.) But implausibly neat and tidy plot aside, the way the characters interact in this movie rings very true to life. Particularly in the Iris/Los Angeles subplot, The Holiday addresses some very universal relationship truths in a clever way. I can't really say the same for the somewhat silly Amanda/Graham romance back in England, but at least there I had the Jude Law eye candy to keep me interested.

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xo_verity xo_verity 10 years
I love this movie!
Nan-Einhart Nan-Einhart 10 years
I will see this movie soon. I will be eager to see if Jack Black can play a romantic lead. John Belushi pulled it off once in Continental Divide, so all things are possible.
pink_magnetism pink_magnetism 10 years
I want to see this.
Imabeliever Imabeliever 10 years
I don't know if I can convinvce the hubby to see this..but Jude and Cam look so cute as do Kate and Jack pairing... maybe I can convince the hubby to watch the kids and have a girlie movie day!!
thedrywallgirl thedrywallgirl 10 years
Jack Black is so cute & funny (or should I say funny which makes him cute, lol)! I bet he's a blast to hang with.
lilren lilren 10 years
I'll be able to get my bf to see it with me because of Jack Black. He does nothing for me, but if he gets my guy to see "the Holiday", he's on my nice list for sure.
ososweet ososweet 10 years
i want to see this!! didn't read the review, don't want to give to much away
isabellemybelle isabellemybelle 10 years
I'm so gonna see this!
crackinlobster crackinlobster 10 years
This movie does look great but I will never get my husband to go see it. Trust the Man was a good movie especially if you live in the NY area. That one I got my husband to go with me and he like it.
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 10 years
Yay!! :woohoo: Glad to hear that!
AmyLyn AmyLyn 10 years
I got a free preview pass.... and let me tell you, it was SO GOOD! I recomend it to anyone. As much as I don't love Jude in real life, in the movie he just just adorable!
thedrywallgirl thedrywallgirl 10 years
Hmmm...wonder if I can drag the bf to this one, lol. Im lovin Buzzsugar so far!
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
I want to see this, too! I :LOVE: Cameron's jacket in the last pic.!! :)
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 10 years
I can't waaaaaaaaait to see this! AND my husband said he's looking forward to it, too...not just in a "yeah, of course i can't wait to see this romantic comedy with you darling" but genuinely because of Jack Black!! LOL
paigesweetkisses paigesweetkisses 10 years
Jack Black gives me the creeps.. I can't stand to sit through movies that he stars in
FafaTodd FafaTodd 10 years
Next week check out our previews for HatSugar, ToothepasteSugar and ChairSugar... where we review the hottest chairs and keep you up to date on all things chair!
kittycat kittycat 10 years
oh am going to see this one. should be funny.
BlondeSugar BlondeSugar 10 years
LOL Lauren!
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 10 years
yeah BS, that is what is good about em! hahaha
BlondeSugar BlondeSugar 10 years
My mom wants to see this. I hate cheesy romantic comedies. They're so predictable. :oy:
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 10 years
me too!!! I LOVE holiday romantic comedies!
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 10 years
I can't wait to see this! ~* “I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you're on it.” -Johnny Depp *~
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