Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Movie Log: The Holiday

Have I ever mentioned how I get deeply ambivalent and conflicted about minor things? This puffball of a movie is a good example: the previews made me want to see it, then the reviews made me not want to, then The Wife got it last week from Netflix and watched it on Thursday, but that was the night before Lunacon so I had to pack, so I didn't watch it with her. Finally, she told me it was pretty good, so we saw it last night together.

(It's not worth all that, honestly.)

The Holiday is pretty much an off-the-rack modern romantic comedy, except for the fact that it's really two romantic comedies bolted together through their shared premise. That's one of the best things about it; the problem with most rom-coms is that a feature-length running time requires a lot of complications to keep the romantic duo apart until the end (and that generally seems to be the point), which makes these movies somewhat mechanical. The more romances going on at once, the more the movie has to bounce from one to the next, and the whole thing goes much more smoothly. (The apotheosis of this theory is one of my favorite movies, Love Actually, which is nearly a dozen romances crammed into one normal-length movie -- it's all good scenes, and no stupid look-how-much-we're-in-love montages.)

Back to ambivalence. Romantic comedies are a genre I want to like, since I enjoy both love stories and comedy, but they mostly seem to be really shallow, stupid movies for mid-20s "girls" to whoop at in a big multiplex. So I end up seeing three minutes of things while flipping channels, grimace, and flee in disgust.

This one isn't that bad, but it is infested with montages (particularly in the Cameron Diaz-Jude Law plot, which is otherwise decent) and obvious, pointless low comedy. Everyone in it does a good job, so it's always watchable, but it's never really engaging. It's just up there on the screen, and you can watch it if you're looking that way.

If you're a particularly girly whatever-you-are, you might well like it. And if your significant other is particularly girly, and demands to see it, you probably won't mind much sitting through it, unless your testosterone levels are above 300.

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