The Holiday Nancy Meyers

Rom-coms are a despised genre but even poor examples of the form can take comfort in the fact that they’re not The Holiday. Writer/director Nancy Meyers takes every awful convention of the genus and intensifies them until you’re begging for mercy. It’s every bit as bad as you’ve heard and then some. The "fun” begins with two women, one from Los Angeles (a furious, fulminating Cameron Diaz) and Surrey, England (downtrodden doormat Kate Winslet) who after disastrous relationships, participate in a swap that has each of them occupying the other’s house for the Christmas holidays. Wouldn’t you know it, the pair of them are revitalised: Diaz falls for Winslet’s philandering brother (Jude Law), while Winslet meets film composer Jack Black and suddenly love is in the air. Meyers drops generous hints that she’s the heir apparent to the sparkling writers of Hollywood’s Golden Age, going so far as to enlist Eli Wallach as a classic-era screenwriter who lives next door in L.A., but she’s clearly deluded, as her dialogue lacks the guts or nuance that marked the best work of that period. I’d denounce her writing as sitcom-quality, except most sitcoms aren’t as telegraphed or as maddening as her script — she takes the stuff of genuine emotion then beats it into submission until it’s unthreatening and innocuous. That’s the exact opposite of what a filmmaker should do, but leave it to Meyers to forge a path going backwards into banality. Extras include a middling commentary with the director, who brings in various technical participants to clarify their roles, and a standard issue "making of” doc. (Sony)