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.