Nothing Like the Holidays Movie Reviews
User reviews on Nothing Like the Holidays
A holiday movie with a Puerto Rican flavor. A big family (Freddy Rodriguez, Elizabeth Pena, John Leguizamo and Alfred Molina) deal with the homecoming of a son from Iraq and the odd-ball insertion of Debra Messina as Leguizamo's wife. Mild stuff with a bit of spice, but hardly worth a trip away from your own holiday dinner table.
This is the kind of movie families sometimes â€œsettle onâ€ around the holidays because itâ€™s got a little something for everyone. Such families could definitely do worse. However, thereâ€™s not much originality hereâ€”it plays like a dozen other â€œhome for the holidaysâ€ type movies. Some of characterâ€™s problems are clichéd (John Leguizamo cares more about his job than his family) or just too over the top (Freddy Rodriguez is a battle-scarred Iraq veteran). Nothing Like the Holidays lays the schmaltz on thick, and considering that itâ€™s most interesting selling point is that itâ€™s a non-white family for once (Puerto Rican), itâ€™s strange that they seem like every other family in this kind of movie.
This movie is just the shot in the arm the â€œdysfunctional family holidayâ€ genre needs. Especially after a low point like Four Christmases, itâ€™s nice to have a movie for this Christmas season that captures an authentic feeling of the rollercoaster ride the seasonâ€™s family get-togethers bring.
Maybe it shouldnâ€™t be surprising that Nothing Like the Holidays is so good. The cast, playing a Puerto Rican family celebrating Christmas in Chicago, is a whoâ€™s who of Hollywoodâ€™s best Latino comic actors, and many of them rarely get roles as meaty as this. Luis Guzman, Freddy Rodriguez, Jay Hernandez and John Leguizamo take the very simple (and admittedly somewhat formulaic) premise and run with it. Alfred Molina and Debra Messing are also good. The writing is genuinely touching and funny, and we come to care about these charactersâ€™ problems. Yes, they have plenty. The family is in fact in danger of coming apart when Elizabeth Pena announces to the children that she is planning to divorce their father. Besides that, all the characters have their own little subplots to work out. Some are more interesting than others, but through the film I came to really care what most of them were going through. This one is a treat, and a good excuse for a family movie outing.
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