Last Holiday

Director: Wayne Wang

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

A good director with a film trivial beyond belief, Last Holiday (2006) is commercially well-constructed as a romantic comedy, but certainly does not overcome the awful limitations of its genre.

Queen Latifah is Georgia Byrd, who believes she has only three weeks to live. So she cashes in her retirement fund & the bonds inherited from her mother & sets off for the ritziest of ritzy-ass hotels in Europe, where servants fall in love with her because she's never abusive toward them, & the wealthy embrace her as one of their own, loving her to such an extent that they still will adore her after it's revealed she's not of their class after all.

It might have a couple grins, & certainly Latifah has beauty & screen charisma in her corner, plus the story is certainly believable -- that even if she came from poor roots rich people would want to hang out with her -- given that she is from poor roots & rich people do like to hang out with her.

Before her diagnosis is corrected, Georgia the Jesus-lovin' pile of sweetness & light will change the heart of an evil billionaire (Timothy Hutton), convince his unhappy mistress (Alicia Witt) to go back to college, make the chef (Gerard Depardieu) feel there's someone worth cooking for, chastise a congressman (Michael Nouri), & get tracked down by her romantic lead (LL Cool J) for a final sweeping off her feet.

And even though Georgia spent her life savings because she believed she was dying, turns out that's no big deal, since the formerly evil suddenly generous billionaire's conversion results in her being bankrolled to become a five-star restauranteer, authentically joining the elite. It's the tritest retail saleswoman to riches story imaginable, with the cheerful moral that money does buy happiness.

It's totally unremarkable & lightheartedness got on my nerves. I never bought the whole idea that living like a rich person far from the people Georgia has presumedly loved was the best way to spend one's last days, & unless the shmooozing was indeed to get bankrolled for something, I wouldn't feel thrilled to die among by these strangers. Much as I love Queen Latifah as a physical presence on this earth, she's yet to star in a film worthy of her.

This film was imposed on me as an in-flight movie & to too great an extent, the theme of the happy vacation seems tailor made for the in-flight crowd. A rotten story well told may be a step up from her usual rotten stories badly told (i.e., Taxi, The Cookout, or Bringing Down the House), but all these crap comedies seem to come off the same product assembly line, & I've become increasingly leery of wasting my life-hours on Queen Latifah movies.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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