The Holiday (2006)

(On TV, July 2015)  Routine romantic comedies are usually best appreciated for their details rather than their familiar plot structure, and so it is that while you can read a synopsis of The Holiday (“two lovelorn women exchange houses for the holidays, finding love in the most unexpected places”) and have a pretty good idea of where the film is headed, but you may not suspect to which extent the film is filled with references to the world of movies.  Cameron Diaz play a movie-trailer editor (the fake for fake movie Deception, with Lindsay Lohan and James Franco, gets the film’s biggest laughs.) and thinks about her life via voice-over narration; Kate Winslet plays a British book editor on holidays in Hollywood, befriending an Oscar-winning screenwriter and getting movies at the video store (a sequence that actually reminded me that I do, on some level, miss video stores)  Some romantic comedy terms are explained, played with and sometimes even adopted wholesale.  Still, there’s a little bit more to The Holiday than movie stuff: The performances are pretty good (with Eli Wallach getting one last great role), the sentiments are heartfelt, the expected scenes happen roughly in the expected order.  In short (or rather; in long, since the film does run a bit too long), it’s a perfectly serviceable romantic comedy, fit to make the holidays feel even more like the holidays. 

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