What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film includes comedic references to a terminal illness and some nonexplicit but perhaps mildly worrisome scenes of medical examination (loud machines, doctor's bad news, lack of health insurance). Characters allude to sexual desire and appearances (references to "going down," "ass," "booty," and breasts; soundtrack songs include "Let's Get It On"); women wear swimsuits, towels, and cleavage-revealing clothing; some brief kissing. A couple of characters smoke (cigar and cigarette) and multiple characters drink, one to the point of despairing intoxication, whereupon he sits on a building ledge while others worry he will jump. Characters are deceitful and selfish. Sports activities (snowboarding, base jumping) involve some antic violence. Some profanity.
What's the story?
In LAST HOLIDAY, Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) sings in her church choir and sells cookware at a department store. An aspiring chef, she also dreams of marrying a handsome coworker Sean (LL Cool J). It takes a dreadful misunderstanding to drive Georgia to act on her desires. Following a clunk on the head at work, a doctor tells her that she has only weeks to live. She quits the job and cleans out her savings for a trip to a European resort village where she stays at the Hotel Pupp and impresses the magnificent Chef Didier (Gérard Depardieu) with her grand appetite. She also affects various unhappy hotel guests and staff. Senator Dillings (Giancarlo Esposito) needs to get back in touch with his public mission. Ms. Burns (Alicia Witt) works for and sleeps with self-absorbed executive Kragen (Timothy Hutton), who believes Georgia is a business competitor. And imperious hotel valet Ms. Gunther (Susan Kellermann) first perceives Georgia as the enemy.
Is it any good?
Wayne Wang's remake of the 1950 Alec Guinness film is a mostly generic romantic comedy, buoyed by the amazing Queen Latifah. The film offers a rudimentary class critique in working-class Georgia's boisterous reeducation of the hoity-toity types. She does this by thoughtful listening and also by doing, enthusiastically taking up snowboarding, gambling, base jumping, and cooking with Chef Didier.
But this comfort-foodish film can't get out from under its burden of clichés. As she gains increased clout (maybe her new Hollywood star counts for something), perhaps the Queen can angle for work that's challenging and rewarding for all her subjects.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Georgia's decision to pursue her dreams -- only after she believes she is about to die. How does she "teach" others who are focused on material success, greed, and reputations to reconsider priorities?