We saw this DVD last night, which had come highly recommended to me. I would like to take this opportunity to "unrecommend" it to you, gentle reader.
It is an absolutely lamentable film which fails to convince on any level whatsoever.
The plot is thin, predictable, obvious and shallow. It is little more than a reworking of every rom-com cliche imaginable, simply with a new opening premise as to how the "characters" meet, fall in love, jump into bed, almost don't stay together, until at last... they do (the order varies, this film having the added shoddiness of the bed-scene coming before the characters are in love in any sense).
I say "characters" in quotes because the characterisation is some of the poorest I have seen. None of the 2D people that appeared on the screen seemed to have anything to their personalities beyond one single obvious all-defining characteristic. These characters were mere caricatures of humans, the depiction of whose tangled lives, failed to invoke any pathos at all - merely boredom. How many films will feature a dashing man (with no faults) a bad man (with no graces) and a dizzy woman torn between them? Oh please!
The direction was wooden too. I cannot think of a film in which you can almost hear the director shouting to the actors, "OK, walk into the house - look amazed, jump for joy, run into the hall, shriek with joy". Grrrrr. It bore all the hallmarks of a team of producers and actors who themselves were bored by what they were being asked to do - of whom Winslett was the worst offender.
Above all what this film lacked was any hint of charm. The rom-com genre is certainly an overworked seam, but what can make its offerings at least palatable is the kind of charm, whimsy or quirkiness that makes the viewer actually intersted in outcome of the story.
The film stole the "Love Actually" premise of being several stories running parallel and then combining together at the end. "Love Actually" was a very erratic film, some plot lines working, others not. Emma Thompson & Alan Rickman's sub-plot working in a way which Hugh Grant's PM didn't. "The Holiday", unlike Love Actually is at least consistent in this regard.
- It is uniformly unwatchable from start to finish.