A reminder to all producers: alluding to iconic romantic comedies in a bid for legitimacy can be a dangerous game, even when you have appealing stars. Here two luminous actresses — Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz — play lovelorn thirtysomethings who swap houses for the holidays. A thin premise, but ripe for mistaken identities and general high jinks. Diaz meets Jude Law (usually box-office poison, but winningly vulnerable here); Winslet engages Jack Black, a non-threatening foil. Diaz can look like an ice queen when swathed in cashmere, but Nancy Meyers, as a director and screenwriter, is a safe box-office bet, though her movies tend to run long and she’s not nearly as charming as she thinks she is. In summary: putting Eli Wallach in your movie as an aging Hollywood legend is cute, but including an actual scene from His Girl Friday is a reminder that we could be watching that movie instead.
On the Web
The Holiday's Web site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/theholiday/index.html