In other words The Holiday probably falls under the “guilty pleasure” category. Its not a classic romantic comedy by any standards but darn it it still makes you smile more often than you want to admit. The story centers on two women: Iris (Kate Winslet) a British newspaper columnist hopelessly in love with a man about to marry someone else and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) a highly successful L.A. career woman who just broke up with her latest cheating boyfriend. Being at the right place at the right time these two gals meet online at a home exchange website and impulsively switch homes for the holiday. Shortly after arriving at their destinations both women find the last thing either wants or expects: A new romance. Amanda is charmed by Iris' handsome brother Graham (Jude Law) and Iris with inspiration provided by legendary screenwriter Arthur (Eli Wallach) mends her heart when she meets film composer Miles (Jack Black). Oh just go ahead and take a big gooey bite. It’s good for the soul. The biggest problem in The Holiday is unfortunately the casting—which is real shame because you really want the chemistry to zing. They get it right with Winslet and Law who are both trying something a little different as romantic leads. Winslet in fact admitted to Reuters this was one of the more nerve-wracking parts she’s ever played because she couldn’t hide behind an American accent or a costume playing someone closer to well herself. But you would think these two Oscar-nominees had been making these type movies all along especially the insanely gorgeous Law who should have every woman swooning with his sensitivity. Where they get it wrong is with the Americans as the Brits just act giant circles around them. Black is clearly out of place. Although being very charming and funny looking like he made Winslet laugh a LOT (and who wouldn’t with that guy around?) their connection on screen is somewhat amiss. Diaz comes off looking even worse. Even though she’s the veteran of the romantic comedy (There's Something About Mary My Best Friend's Wedding) her screechy neurotic klutzy Amanda is in no way appealing. You have to scratch your head wondering why Law’s Graham would fall so hard for her. What does make The Holiday work however is writer/director Nancy Meyers. She’s proven herself quite adept at the genre with films such as What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give under her belt. With The Holiday Meyers skillfully crafts individual moments of refreshing comedy as well as heartening scenes of blossoming romance. The initial seduction scene between Amanda and Graham is particularly sweet and quirky with the crisp dialogue flying at a nice clip. And isn’t it comforting to see a holiday movie minus feuding neighbors commerciality or any sort of mean-spiritedness? But Meyers has the tendency to go more for the superficial rather than dig deep with her characters. The Holiday has a one of those glossy rosy glows whose only aim is to make you feel good. True the film will mostly speak volumes to the women in the audience (that’s a polite way of saying its a “chick flick”) but oh well. It’s fluff may be a nice reprieve during the hustle and bustle of the season.
When ordered to fire a long-time janitor named Stavi (Luis Avalos) Steve Barker (Johnny Knoxville) softens the blow by hiring him to mow the lawn at his apartment complex. Steve didn't provide him with health insurance so Stavi naturally loses a few fingers in a mowing accident and now it'll cost thousands to save the digits. What's a guy to do? Why of course fix the Special Olympics—a suggestion of Steve's degenerate uncle Gary (Brian Cox) who's also in the financial dumps. Former track star Steve reluctantly goes along with the scam and competes in the Special Olympics. His competitors are quick to pick up on his ruse but they decide to help him after Steve explains his motive. He must also try not to disappoint Lynn (Katherine Heigl) the beautiful volunteer who doesn't know of his real identity. What's a guy to do? Take the high road of course. Certainly Knoxville—of Jackass infamy and debauchery—would have no moral trepidation about headlining offensive exploitative crap like The Ringer but stardom beckons him if he only he stops aiming so damn low! His performance here was probably not as easy as it'd seem but it's reasonable to think that Jackass stunts involving a bottle of absinthe and some paper cuts to the cornea quickly eliminated any butterflies. What Knoxville has in spades is that rare charisma to prevent him from ever looking uncool. Then there's Cox the latest revered journeyman to sell his soul on the cheap for a role completely beneath him. Mostly disabled actors round out the cast uttering any and all funny lines but there's something fundamentally wrong when the audience erupts in laughter before the lines are even delivered. Though the Farrelly brothers—directors of There's Something About Mary and Dumb & Dumber--only acted as executive producers of The Ringer their lowbrow stamp is smeared all over. Directing chores were handed over to Barry Blaustein prolific writer of comedies like Coming to America making his feature directorial debut. The Ringer delivers on its promise of frat-dude humor and Blaustein certainly knows how to make his leading man shine—but it does so in cheap sophomoric ways.
Boris Karloff's daughter wants her "Mummy." Er, money.
Or, more specifically, Sara Karloff wants Universal Studios to pay up for allegedly reneging on a royalties deal for using her horror-icon dad's likeness in studio advertising and promotional materials for movies such as 1999's blockbuster remake "The Mummy."
According to Daily Variety, Karloff's lawsuit is seeking more than $10 million. According to the complaint, filed Thursday in Los Angeles, Sara Karloff and Universal spent months negotiating a royalty agreement. During the 1930s and '40s, her father starred in a number of horror pictures for Universal, and the studio wanted permission to use his likeness as the Frankenstein monster, as well as the Ardath Bey/Imhotep characters from "The Mummy."
But, according to Sara Karloff's suit, the studio pulled a fast one. It "tweaked" the Karloff characters and created a generic Frankenstein and Imhotep that looked a lot like Karloff in guise, but was different enough so that the studio didn't have to pay royalties to her.
Sara Karloff says that Universal only used actual images of Boris in its style guide, a catalog that advertises to third-party licensees the characters and images that are available. But anyone who ordered Frankenstein or Imhotep got the so-called phony version, thus the style guide was "the centerpiece of the bait and switch scheme," the lawsuit says.
Universal officials declined to comment, but Sara Karloff's attorney, Allan Browne, told Variety: "The suit was brought to stop the unsavory business practices of Universal. Universal owes a ton of money to Sara Karloff based upon Universal's wrongful use of Boris Karloff's image and likeness."
Boris Karloff died in 1969, and under state law, his daughter is the successor to all rights in his name and likeness for publicity purposes.
Sara Karloff has apparently been on Universal's case for a while. In a post found on the official Boris Karloff Home Page (www.pe.net/~karloff/), Sara Karloff wrote: "HELP! Does anyone know where I can find a copy of my father's contracts for 'Frankenstein', 'Bride of Frankenstein' and 'The Mummy'? If so, I only want to briefly review the terms of the contracts for clarification of certain 'ownership' claims made by Universal Studios."