BILLY'S HOLIDAY (1995) is quirky musical fantasy from Australia that won the Australian Film Institute's awards for Best Adapted Score and Best Achievement in Costume Design.
This lighthearted comedy concerns Sydney hardware store owner Billy Apples (Max Cullen), who feels his life is lacking meaning, aside from his evenings performing with a mediocre local jazz band. Dealing with the recent breakup of his marriage, Billy also must struggle with the challenges of raising his angry teenaged daughter Casey (Rachael Coopes) who blames him for the divorce.
However, one evening, after some strange activity in the night sky, Billy suddenly finds himself able to sing in a voice similar to jazz legend Billie Holiday. Suddenly, Billy is playing to a packed house every night and even gets a recording contract. Everything seems to be going right for Billy, but his success starts to go to his head...
The plot of this unusual, original film is really just an excuse to mount the lavish musical numbers, which are definitely impressive. The music, costumes, and choreography is first rate, but people who are not interested in Billie Holiday's music will likely be bored and the movie offers little else of interest. The film is mildly humorous, with decent performances, but it's fairly predictable -- aside, of course, from the unusual premise. Overall, it's difficult to dislike BILLY'S HOLIDAY, but it also isn't something that you'll probably want to watch very often.
The video quality on this DVD is acceptable and I have no major complaints. The widescreen (1.85:1) picture is enhanced for 16x9 televisions and is very stable. The picture is colorful (if slightly muted) and free from any compression artifacts.
The DVD contains a fine 2.0 surround track. There is very little surround information, but sound is always distortion-free with crisp music and dialog.
There are no extras on this DVD, aside from the theatrical trailer.
Anyone interested in an obscure, quirky night of entertainment should consider checking out BILLY'S HOLIDAY. Fans of Billie Holiday's music will especially be impressed by the film's mix of swing/jazz favorites. However, I would suggest renting it, because the film itself is only slightly amusing, and doesn't hold up to repeated viewings -- and it probably won't appeal to everyone.