The Holiday worth taking


I like to think that love isn't elusive or sorrowful but rather definite and joyous. It may take time, patience, and some kissing of those proverbial frogs now and then, but I believe that happiness will come to those who persevere with an open heart.

I know from personal experience. So if you like hanky weepers and emit emotional sighs of contented satisfaction, please see "The Holiday." Without meaning to sound goopy and overly sentimental about the idea of love and the idea of falling in love, I believe it embraces quite successfully that traditional ideology that love conquerors all.

"The Holiday" is the story of two young professional women who just have the dickens of meeting the right guy. One finds her live-in boyfriend more than goggles his receptionist; the other finds her unrequited love - a former boyfriend (using the term very loosely) - recently engaged.

Both stories, I think, strike a blow for feminism because you're just screaming why these otherwise seemingly intelligent women are so emotionally clueless and self-defeating. Anyway, the former discovers the latter's house on a vacation rental website, and before the day's out, each are ready to spread their jet wings, eager to escape.

It's not the deepest script ever written; in fact, it's light and airy like buttered croissants, but there's enough draw to make it appealing, and the four principles' chemistry and charm make it work. I am going to throw in one little nitpick - Hollywood takes to heart Einstein's theory of relatively a little too seriously. The house swap gig was supposed to be for only two weeks, but somehow, falling in love, coordinating an awards show, composing an entire score, and getting to know the widower's children seems a little extreme for such a short vacation. But this is Hollywood where miracles do happen.

Kate Winslet as Iris, the one with the caddish ex-boyfriend, and takes up residence in Amanda's (Cameron Diaz) L.A. home, relishing in its luxuriousness and temporarily forgets her anguish.

She meets Miles (Jack Black), a business friend to Amanda. Black, when he tones down his outrageous comedic shtick, can be an effective actor. His performance as the love candidate for Iris was straight and natural.

I didn't feel I was watching two actors acting but rather two people who truly enjoyed each other's company. It felt honest, real, and sincere, and this is the most relaxed I've seen Winslet since forever. She comes across as a person and not a page out of a script. It's been a long time where I watched a movie that didn't feel forced and strained.

Amanda, in residence at Iris' Surrey country home, has the duck-out-of-water syndrome. A driven music trailer composer, she's going nuts with all that quietness. A knock on her door one evening reveals a slightly inebriated Justin (Jude Law), and her world changes forever.

A somewhat preposterous scene ensues, but once you get beyond that dishabille moment, their awkward relationship hardly rings a false note.

A lot of sweetness can be gagging, but fortunately Diaz has that ability to walk the line without tipping into sugariness. Law's character wore glasses, epitomizing his likableness and endearing oneself into one's heart.

I guess you're figuring out I liked this one, and I had nary a niggling moment of absurdity of what I was watching. There's a sweet little subplot involving Iris and her next-door neighbor played by veteran actor Eli Wallach. It's nice to see that Hollywood doesn't always put these wonderful actors out to pasture.

Yes, it's a chick flick. Yes, it's lightweight. Yes, it's illogical at times. Yes, you should see it.