LAST HOLIDAY: DVD
When Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah), a lonely, able, but shy sales clerk at the Kragen department store, is diagnosed with a fatal brain disease, she goes on an extravagant vacation to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, to indulge her love of cuisine by the side of the famous Chef, Didier (Gerard Depardieu). On arrival she finds that Kragen (Timothy Hutton) himself is also at the exclusive hotel with mistress in tow (Alicia Witt), trying to manipulate a deal with the help of Senator Dillings (Giancarlo Esposito). Her store colleague - and aspiring romantic partner - Sean Matthews (LL Cool J) sets off after her, and by the time he gets through the snow to the famous mountain resort, Georgia - behaving like there is no tomorrow - has charmed everyone, from her female hotel butler Ms Gunther (Susan Kellermann) to Didier - except the sleazy Kragen. But a fax message changes everything.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you can imagine a wish fulfilment fantasy dressed up with a shopping spree, a gorgeous mountain resort in Europe, a world class chef creating new menus every day, champagne, exotic massage and health spa, snow capped scenery and linen to die for (sorry), Georgia's last fling before her diagnosis comes true is indeed living it up because she can't take it with her. And we go along happily, as she cashes in all her savings, including some bonds she has inherited, to splurge it all - on herself. Never mind the bad example she is setting for all the young women who should be wanting world peace (and donating their money to worthy causes), Georgia is showing us how to escape in style.
Queen Latifah is fine form as first the forlorn and then the fiery Georgia from New Orleans, who discovers her hidden persona with the help of an expensive winter wardrobe. She chides herself in the mirror that "next time" (she assumes she will shortly be dead, but seems sure she'll be back) she should live life more fully, less afraid. Good advice, so take this as the film's primary lesson.
Lesson over, and on with the fun, as the kooky characters of Karlovy Vary's famous and fabulous Grandhotel mingle with the big players from the West. Susan Kellermann steals the scenes that Depardieu is not in, and LL Cool J makes a likeable bloke after Georgia's lonely heart. Timothy Hutton plays the corporate swine with steely charm, and the whole affair is a pleasant interlude without jumping out of the rut of the genre, as Hollywood wants it.
There are deleted scenes, featurettes, trailer plus two recipes on the DVD
Published November 2, 2006
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LAST HOLIDAY: DVD (PG)
CAST: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Gerard Depardieu, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Alicia Witt, Jane Adams
PRODUCER: Laurence Mark, Jack Rapke
DIRECTOR: Wayne Wang
SCRIPT: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Geoffrey Simpson
EDITOR: Deidre Slevin
MUSIC: George Fenton
PRODUCTION DESIGN: William Arnold
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 25, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted Scenes,3 Featurettes, 2 Recipes from Last Holiday, Theatrical Trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
DVD RELEASE: November 2, 2006