Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2006. Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Waverly Films. Screenplay by Nancy Meyers. Cinematography by Dean Cundey. Produced by Bruce A. Block, Nancy Meyers. Music by Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Jon Hutman. Costume Design by Marlene Stewart. Film Editing by Joe Hutshing.
Kate Winslet is heartbroken when she discovers that the man who dumped her years before (Rufus Sewell), but for whom she still carries a torch, is marrying another woman. Cameron Diaz is frustrated by her breakup with her cheating boyfriend (Edward Burns) and longs to be far away from him during the Christmas holiday season. The two women discover each other on the internet and within hours are participating in a home exchange program that has Winslet basking in Los Angeles sun and Diaz cozying up in a snow-covered English cottage. Traveling the world to avoid men is easier said than done, however, particularly when Diaz becomes smitten with her hostess’s dreamy brother (Jude Law) and Winslet is charmed by Burns’s work colleague (Jack Black). This heartfelt romantic comedy by Nancy Meyers isn’t as ridiculous as What Women Want, but also fails to be as engaging as her wonderful Something’s Gotta Give; like all her films, it’s far too long, and while many of the situations are touching, more than a few of them are contrived and ride too much on coincidence. What really disappoints, though, is Diaz, who is definitely capable of more but isn’t pushed by Meyers to give anything beyond a superficial performance that has her constantly screeching. Just watch the scene where she goes to Law’s house for the first time, it’s an entire sequence of missed opportunities as she avoids taking it all in. Winslet basically hammers her off the screen on her end of it, delightfully fresh as the woman who has hit rock bottom and rediscovers life thanks to a willingness to really go for it. Her scenes with Eli Wallach as an aging screenwriter neighbour are the film’s best, particularly as the great actor himself shows no signs of losing his performance abilities even at 91. It’s a nice holiday film that offers the occasional warm glow, but it’s far from a romantic classic.