|Video Release:||01 May 2006|
|See Canadian Ratings|
|How We Determine Our Grades|
The spirit of legendary director Frank Capra permeates the script of Queen Latifah's Last Holiday, the feel-good film about a reticent salesclerk. After discovering she is terminally ill, Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) quits her job to embrace the remaining weeks of her life.
Cashing in her bonds and savings, the once diet-driven woman resolves to realize the dreams she's recorded in her Book of Possibilities. Flying to an expensive hotel in the Czech Republic, the aspiring cook takes pleasure in the fine foods prepared by world-renowned Chef Didier (Gerard Depardieu) and languishes on the luxurious sheets in the Presidential suite.
However her arrival at the Grand Hotel Pupp causes a stir among some of the other guests. Matthew Kragen (a younger and hipper but equally heartless version of Mr. Potter from It's A Wonderful Life) owns the retail chain where Georgia worked, still has no idea who the former employee is. Staying at the hotel with his mistress, Ms. Burns (Alicia Witt), he is appealing for legislative support from Senator Dillings (Giancarlo Esposito) and Congressman Stewart (Michael Nouri) for some new business acquisitions. Disturbed by the appearance of the apparently wealthy, but unknown woman, Matthew (Timothy Hutton) scurries around trying to discover her identity.
In the meantime, Georgia, learning to put aside her inhibitions, goes base-jumping, rides in a helicopter and stands up for the staff when uppity patrons at the establishment berate their performance. Only one dream, revealing her feelings for her coworker Sean (LL Cool J), fails to materialize.
The plot of the goodhearted hero/heroine facing crushing life circumstances isn't original and the screenplay stays true to the recipe. Portraying rich people as rude and service providers as incompetent, the script relies on stereotypical depictions for many of the cast members. Content concerns include excessive drinking, brief sexual references and infrequent moderate profanities that distract from an otherwise predictable yet heartwarming storyline. Fortunately, even a depressing premise and ridiculous scenarios can't keep Queen Latifah's energetic performance from giving oomph to her character and life to the film.
Taking the time to relish life is a deathbed reality for Georgia who regrets the years she wasted dreaming instead of doing. Learning to laugh more, love more and overcome fear is a worthwhile lesson. For time-starved viewers (who may be around for a while), the real trick will be following Georgia's lead to live for today, while remembering there is still a tomorrow.
Last Holiday is rated PG-13: for some sexual reference
Cast: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton
Studio: 2006 Paramount Pictures