Last Holiday

Last Holiday

*1/2

Reviewed by: Kotleta

Disregarding the familiarity of the premise - misdiagnosis of terminal illness leads to new appreciation of life - this has a cast with proven comic credentials, a beautiful setting, likeable leading lady and a prior version accorded small scale classic status.

When Alec Guinness took the Queen Latifah role in 1950 the promise was more than fulfilled, but this saccharine remake offers one disappointment after another. With a plinky plonky major/minor soundtrack - the cinematic equivalent of canned laughter - to help you sieve the happy moments from the sad, this is less fun than a month at Butlins.

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Apparently, in today's political climate of paranoia, apathy and corruption, people just want happy endings and feelgood films, which is an insufficient excuse to turn a much-loved Ealing tragicomedy into a bloated Hollywood rom-com, touting the vacuous All-American message of Be All You Can Be, until all you want to be is deaf and blind.

Sales clerk Georgia Byrde (Queen L) lives life to the least of its potential. Fearful of failure, she refrains from pursuing sexy colleague Sean (LL Cool J), training as a chef, asking for a pay rise or taking a dream holiday to Karlovy Vary, where her hero Chef Didier (Gerard Depardieu) cooks for millionaire Euro trash in the Grand Hotel Pupp. Karlovy Vary is a pastel-pretty spa town in the Czech Republic. For the purposes of this story, it could be anywhere on earth, but its obscurity serves as shorthand for quirky and charming. Also, it's quite cheap to film there and the beer is good.

Death seems imminent so Georgia decides to go out with a bang, proving in the process that there is no emotional problem that cannot be solved by throwing money or platitudes at it. Several contrived and irritating subplots later, everything is neatly tied up with valuable lessons learned all round, and it is finally time to go home and have a stiff drink whilst attempting to forget the whole degrading experience.

Although I was fortunate enough to miss the first 10 minutes, Last Holiday remains lumbering, lacklustre, and painful to endure. The half star is a personal indulgence borne of nostalgia for a very enjoyable week spent in a Russian cabaret bar across the road from that very same Grand Hotel Pupp, which I shall always remember fondly, if vaguely.

Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2006
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Last Holiday packshot
Told she has three weeks left of her life, Queen Latifa shows us all how to live to the full in this charming romantic comedy.
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Read more Last Holiday reviews:

Skyline ****

Director: Wayne Wang

Writer: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, based on the 1950 screenplay by J B Priestley

Starring: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Alicia Witt, Gerard Depardieu, Jane Adams

Year: 2006

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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