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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Last Holiday
Last Holiday
Paramount // PG-13 // May 2, 2006
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 6, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A remake of a 1950 picture starring Alec Guiness, "Last Holiday" stars Queen Latifah as Georgia Byrd, a woman who lives an ordinary life working at a department store in New Orleans and spending her spare time cooking. She has a crush on co-worker Sean (LL Cool J), but hasn't worked up the courage to tell him. Everything comes crashing down one day after a random bump on the head at work - she is examined by the company doctor for the bump, but when they find that she has a rare condition, she's informed that she has about a month to live.

She decides to make the most of her remaining days, quitting her job and setting off on a holiday to Europe. Georgia spends her time going through what money she has while staying at a gorgeous hotel. During the stay, she works with a popular chef (Gerard Depardeau) and goes up against the CEO (Timothy Hutton) of the retail company that she didn't like working for. She even decides to do things she'd never consider, like snowboarding and base jumping. Meanwhile, Sean - who didn't tell Georgia he had feelings for her - decides to head overseas to track her down.

"Last Holiday" is safe and comfortable, never going anywhere you didn't expect it would and ending exactly the way you're probably guessing it will. However, while it is predictable, it thankfully doesn't get nearly as sentimental as it could have. Some of the performances are also good - Latifah turns in a pleasant, low-key performance that elvates the material and - at least for me - kept the movie engaging. Depardeau and Latifah are great together, as well. Hutton also isn't bad as a slick CEO.

Directed in rather ordinary fashion by Wayne Wang, the film's other issue is that the film could have used some trimming. Feeling padded at 112 minutes, the picture could have stood to drop 20 minutes, starting with a montage or two. The picture looks great (beautiful scenery), but a bit of tightening could have certainly picked up the pace.

The material is a bit shaky at times (it's best not to think about some of the plot points too much) and the film is overlong, but the otherwise pleasant enough "Last Holiday" is powered by Latifah's charming performance, and she manages to carry the film moderately well.

The DVD

VIDEO: "Last Holiday" is presented by Paramount Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is generally quite nice, aside from a few little concerns. Sharpness and detail remained pleasant enough, but the picture could look a tad softer on occasion.

As for concerns, some mild edge enhancement appears at times, causing a bit of distraction. On a positive note, the print used looked perfectly crisp and clean. Additionally, no pixelation or other issues were spotted. Colors looked bright and rich, with nice saturation and no smearing. Flesh tones seemed accurate and natural, as well. Overall, I didn't feel negatively about the presentation, but nothing about it impressed me too much, either.

SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation lacked much ambition, choosing to stick with a very straightforward "comedy"-style mix. Surrounds were barely put to much use, with the great majority of the audio coming from the front speakers. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue and crisp music. Overall, the film's audio was just enough to get the job done for the material - no more, no less.

EXTRAS: Three featurettes: "Last Holiday: Packing Light", "Last Holiday: Last Look" and "Last Holiday: 23 Years in the Making", 2 deleted scenes, recipes, the trailer and promos for other titles from the studio.

Final Thoughts: A feel-good movie with a few issues, "Last Holiday" largely works as well as it does thanks to Latifah's performance and Depardeau's fine supporting effort. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality and a few minor extras. Those interested should try it as a rental.

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