I got to go see a sneak preview of The Holiday tonight with my friend Michelle, my chick flick buddy. I adored the trailer, and I thought if the movie was anything like it, I’d totally love it.
So if you haven’t seen the trailer, here’s the deal: Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet have both recently had very bad romantic experiences. Facing a miserable Christmas holiday, Cameron goes online to find a vacation spot and stumbles on a house swap listing featuring Kate’s English cottage. They agree to swap houses for two weeks, and off they go. Cameron meets Kate’s brother, Jude Law; Kate meets Jack Black. Romantic hijinks ensue.
(I’m just going to keep using the actors’ names if it’s all right with you. Michelle and I both had trouble remembering the characters’ names. Four very big stars, very few secondary characters calling them by name; you do the math.)
So, based on the trailer, we all thought we knew where this was going. Pretty people in absurd situations meet other pretty people, hop into bed, end of story.
Except not. And I love the fact that this wasn’t quite the superficial little romantic comedy it appeared to be. Going in, I thought the Cameron/Jude story would be pretty straightforward, and I was more interested in Kate/Jack — which is an unlikely screen pairing, and more intrinsically interesting.
The first half of the movie proceeded more or less according to plan. Kate’s story was a little more involved than I expected, but hey, she had to have something to do until Jack turned up being delightful all over the place and getting all the quotable lines. And then, unexpectedly, Jude Law’s character became about twenty times more interesting. And now Cameron has a problem, because she pretty much thought she knew where this plot was going, too… except not.
I love that it managed to have a happy ending without resolving all the problems that cropped up during the course of the plot — because they weren’t small problems, and any facile solutions would have been insulting to both the viewers and the characters.
I’m not saying the movie is profound or anything. It is unquestionably a chick flick. That’s okay. It was my favorite chick flick since Sliding Doors, which I adore beyond all reason. And the bad thing about seeing a sneak preview is that there aren’t any more showings until it really opens, and I can’t run off and see it again.