Last Holiday Review

So I watched Last Holiday…

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I had no intention of watching this movie until a couple of weeks ago when a friend made a joke that referenced this movie. When I replied that I didn’t get the joke because I hadn’t seen the film she replied – in playful disgust and shock – that I had one job and that was to watch every movie ever made. So this one’s for you, Mishka…

Okay, basic plot: Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) is an introverted, soft-spoken sales assistant who works at a major department store. Georgia has a list of dreams – which she has condensed into a book called ‘Possibilities’ – which she one day plans to accomplish. Chief among these dreams is working up the courage to admit her feelings for her co-worker, Sean (LL Cool J). Georgia’s plans are dashed when she is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer and told she has weeks to live. Georgia quits her job, liquedates her assets and sets on a dream holiday to make sure she lives her last few days on Earth to the fullest.

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This movie isn’t quite what I expected it to be. From what I remember of the trailer, I thought this would be a laugh-a-minute riot (and perhaps it was intended to be) but I found nothing but silence in the place where my laughter should have been. I think if I had watched Last Holiday during its original theatrical run in 2006 I may have enjoyed it more. The film is a product of its time and its comedy has not aged well. This film belongs to the instantly forgettable group of comedies that the early to mid-noughties produced. It has all the hallmarks of a noughties bland comedy with its obligatory nerdy hero gets a makeover, nerdy hero bumbles their way through a periless physical activity and nerdy hero lands the partner of their dreams without ever really working for it. The script is so cliche and mundane that it barely provokes any laughter from you let alone enjoyment.

This film’s only saving grace – and trust me it needs one – is the immense talent of Queen Latifah. It actually broke my heart to see her in a film like this because this film is so beneath her. The idea of the script is worthwhile but the execution is sorely lacking. Latifah does her best to save this film from crashing into a flaming heap and she all but pulls it off. Her performance is filled with charm and humour, and even though she doesn’t have a funny script to work with, she makes the jokes work. She has an undeniable charm that persuades you into liking aspects of the movie that you wouldn’t otherwise.

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Though Latifah does her best even her talents aren’t enough to save this film. There’s an overall vapid quality that exists in every portion of the film that make its story feel hollow and unfulfilling. The beauty of a film like this is seeing a person realise their full potential and live up to it. Unfortunately the character of Georgia was rather vacuous. She starts out timid and unassuming and ends up being vibrant and powerful but the journey between the two points is ill-defined and not convincing. The place she ends up doesn’t match the work she put in and this leaves the obligatory happy ending feeling counterfeit. Last Holiday in many ways is a perfect reflection of its main character – unfulfilled potential that is scared to take a chance on itself and create something meaningful.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy watching this movie. It isn’t funny, the overall acting is poor and its script is mediocre. If it wasn’t for Queen Latifah this movie would not be worth watching. I still don’t recommend watching it unless a friend makes a joke that references it. 6/10

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