Woman's Glib

The awful truth about Nancy Meyers.

Though Meyers tips her hat to filmmakers of the 1940s, the mix of bawdy sex comedy and meaningful relationship picture to which she aspires was still alive in Hollywood as recently as the 1970s, in the work of Paul Mazursky, Blake Edwards and Elaine May to name just three. And as The 40-Year-Old Virginconfidently proved last year, such things remain possible even today. But the sad truth of The Holidayis that, for much of the time it's up there on the screen, it issmarter and savvier than the Hollywood norm, by which I mean pretty much anything starring some combination of Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Kate Hudson and one of the Wilson brothers. Meyers can write a good zinger, and she has a knack for casting actors who not only look good in bed, but are talented enough to rise above the material and, in some cases, nearly transform it. That was true of Keaton in Something's Gotta Giveand it's true of nearly everyone here save Diaz. They're the sort of performers who take so much pleasure in performing that you can get caught up in their merriment and momentarily forget how off-putting the movie's whole sensibility is. But make no mistake: We're a long way here from Ben Hecht and Preston Sturges and Kaufman & Hart. If you really love the smart, golden-age-of-Hollywood romantic comedies as much as Meyers claims that she does — the ones with the "powerhouse" (to borrow Meyers's own word) women and the crackling wit — you'll probably want some Holidayafter The Holiday.

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