In the latest from writer-producer- director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, Something's Gotta Give), Amanda (Cameron Diaz) is a Los Angeles movie trailer producer who's just kicked her cheating boyfriend to the curb. Iris (Kate Winslet) is a Daily Telegraph wedding reporter whose own unfaithful ex is getting hitched to another woman. After bonding in an Internet chat room, they negotiate a house swap—Amanda's epic Brentwood mansion for Iris' quaint London gingerbread cottage—and, upon arriving in their new digs, promptly dive headfirst back into the relationship cesspool (Diaz with Jude Law, Winslet with Jack Black). Meyers doffs her hat early and often to the literate Hollywood romantic comedies of yesteryear with their strong female characters and crackling wit, and she clearly fancies herself an heir to that tradition. She's not, but the awful truth about The Holiday is that it is frequently smarter and savvier than the Hollywood norm (e.g., anything starring Kate Hudson and one of the Wilson brothers). Like Meyers' other recent films, it's also reductive in its view of women in a way that would get a male director strung up by his toes. If this is female empowerment, I'd hate to see what oppression looks like. SCOTT FOUNDAS
Law and Diaz: Be grateful they're not Wilson and Hudson.