Overworked and underappreciated, Georgia fills a “Book of Possibilities” scrapbook with places she wants to go, meals she creates but never eats, and photos of her crush and co-worker, Sean. When a bump on the head leads to a terminal diagnosis, Georgia quits her job, drains her bank account, and heads off to Prague to live life to the fullest before she dies. While there, she begins to charm those around her while coming face to face with the arrogant owner of the department store where she recently quit.
Queen Latifah is really a joy to watch. I liked Just Wright a lot, and she was hilarious in Bringing Down the House. As Georgia, Latifah truly carries the movie on her shoulders. Georgia is probably the only one who doesn’t feel like a stock character. The rest are simply people whose lives need changing and Georgia is the one to do it, whether she realizes it or not. LL Cool J plays Sean, Georgia’s crush who obviously returns her affection, and he’s pretty adept at the wide-eyed bashfulness that seems to embody his character.
Timothy Hutton is Mr. Kragen, owner of Kragen Department Stores. I’m not quite sure that I bought the “conflict” of the movie where Kragen believes Georgia is some ruthless mastermind out to… do what? Destroy his company? Cut in on a profitable deal? To be completely honest, I got sort of lost in that whole subplot and frankly, it felt unnecessary.
Kragen spends most of the movie scowling and trying to match Georgia’s enthusiasm for life to prove some kind of point, but it felt a bit lazy. I don’t think the movie necessarily needed a villain. Given Georgia never lies about who she is, the whole “ah-ha! I’m going to reveal your true identity to everyone!” climax was… well, anti-climactic. Georgia didn’t have anything at stake to lose.
All that aside, it was still an enjoyable movie, especially for the holiday. The Prague scenes were beautiful and it was fun to watch Georgia do whatever she wanted and try new things. Isn’t that what we would all love to do at some point in our lives? Say screw it, drain our meager bank accounts, and see the world? There is a dark cloud hovering over Georgia’s journey… she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, but I think we can all see where this particular plotline is going from the very beginning. But it’s fine! Last Holiday is meant to be a light-hearted comedy for the holidays and that’s exactly what it is. It’s also loosely based on the 1950 film of the same name, where a sales clerk is told he has Lampington’s Disease and only has weeks to live. Be glad it’s not a full-on remake because the end of the 1950 film is quite bleak!
I would recommend Last Holiday for Queen Latifah alone, but it’s an entertaining film about living life to the fullest and turning all of those possibilities into reality.