The Holiday (2006)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon

Directed by: Nancy Meyers

Rating: 1 2 3

Kate Winslet and Jack Black star in the festive rom-com The Holiday

'I like corny,' announces Iris (aka Kate Winslet) in determined tones. 'I'm looking for corny.' Well congratulations, doll, cuz you've just found it in bucketloads. Yes, seasonal rom-com The Holiday is cheesier than stilton and port, with a plot so ludicrously silly it makes Santa Clause The Movie look like a documentary.

Iris, a humble Daily Telegraph wedding correspondent (huh?), lives in a chocolate box cottage in a picture perfect village 'just forty minutes from exciting London' (is anything forty minutes from London, except for more London?). Amanda (a dazzlingly ditsy Cameron Diaz) is a movie trailer maker (I repeat, huh?), who lives in a massive mansion in Bel Air, complete with gym and home cinema. Both on the run from unsuitable men, our hopeless singleton heroines meet up, somewhat unconvincingly, online to arrange an impromptu house exchange, thus allowing the action to swing between a golden, Hollywood-romantic version of LA and that strange, mythical, Home Counties England that's inhabited exclusively by Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, et al, and is the only pocket of Britain to have snow in December.

Eli Wallach as Arthur Abbott in The Holiday

Of course, this being a film by Nancy Meyers (the director behind What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give), neither girl is going to get much rest from romance, and it's not long before brittle, nervy Amanda has succumbed to the considerable charms of Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law, doing Hugh Grant almost as well as Hugh Grant does), whilst self-effacing Iris, in between bringing a new lease of life to Hollywood's geriatric has beens in the form of aged screenwriter Arthur Abbott (an endearing performance from Eli Wallach), finds time to fall for the lovely Miles, aka a somewhat subdued Jack Black (although watch out for the video shop scene, when he finally gets to unleash his comic side).

Of course, the path of true love never runs straight, especially when you're from opposite ends of the planet and starring in a romantic comedy, and our fated foursome soon find themselves getting into situations that can only best be described as 'complicated'... dot, dot dot...

Jude Law and Cameron Diaz in The Holiday

Told you it was corny. And yet, thanks to its charming and likeable cast, The Holiday somehow manages not to be utterly awful. Yes, you will sit through this film slapping your forehead at the stupid coincidences and plot inconsistencies, and you won't win any prizes for working out what happens at the end, but you'll also find yourself falling for the sweet, good natured, funny characters that populate the unrealistic, golden landscape and chances are, you'll leave the cinema with a warm, festive glow in your heart. To find that, unsurprisingly, it isn't snowing.

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