Every once in awhile you need a little pick-me-up, whether it’s a hug after a bad day, chocolate after a bad day, cocaine after a bad day, cocaine after a so-so day, cocaine after a great day or really just cocaine whenever. But I digress. If you’re looking for a reason to get through the winter season or just an insane family dinner where your sister snatches a roll straight out your mouth mid-chew because “it looked good” then search no further and consult your physician because Last Holiday, and cocaine, may be right for you.
Last Holiday follows Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) as a shy, mousy, blip on the radar of life as she deals with the boss from hell, almost flirts with the hot guy from work (L.L. Cool J), and gets diagnosed with a terminal disease that leaves her with four weeks to live. Determined to embrace all of life’s “possibilities” in the time she has left, Georgia sets out to conquer her fears and discover that sometimes the end is just the beginning. Will she ever get L.L. Cool Laid? Will she find out that the power of love can conquer all (except crabs, the power of love can’t cure that shit)? Will Megan Fox ever possess acting talent that doesn’t jiggle when she bounces?
Queen Latifah can act. Put it on a shirt, turn it into a bumper sticker, tattoo it on your ass for that extra-special ode to daddy issues but it’s what carried Last Holiday from start to finish regardless. In a world where musical artists (and athletes) think they can transition seamlessly from medium to medium *cough* Taylor Shits *cough* flawlessly, Queen Latifah did it effortlessly with heart and charm enough to thaw that empty hole where your feelings should be. I stuff mine with meaningless sex and alcohol because therapy is expensive and feelings are icky. Latifah transitioned from meek outsider watching her life pass by on the sidelines to fearless adventurer charting her own course through whatever challenges were thrown at her (taking you along for the ride) in an absolutely believable and authentic way. Even the hardest-hearted bastard won’t be able to help but be encapsulated in her bubble of optimism and charisma; yeah, I’m looking at you, Simon Cowell.
The ensemble cast embraced the goofy, touching, insane and slapstick nature of Last Holiday with the kind of wild abandon usually reserved for bitches getting white-girl-wasted. Dad, if you’re reading this, getting “white-girl-wasted” means losing a lot of weight and fitting into those skinny jeans you bought in a fit of shopping-induced optimism. He gone? NICE SAVE. *self-five* The allure of this film, other than Queen Latifah (who’s beauty comes from within and without) is that it never took itself too seriously but managed to balance the sincere moments with the comedy in a way that was both uplifting and meaningful without getting bogged down in the dangerously saccharine waters of puff-piece cinema. Last Holiday never fails to put me in a good mood and, coupled with hot fudge sundaes, may or may not have averted a murder or two.
While delightfully well acted, one or two of the scenes walked a fine line between touching and hokey, barely hanging in there. Talking to yourself in the mirror? Leave that shit to Michael Jackson. Super dramatic reveal at dinner revealing you have weeks to live? As The World Turns called and they want that gimmick back. They’re minor flaws but the bitch living just under the surface of my epidermis refused to let it slide.
In addition to that, events fell into place as easily as The Lohan falls in and out of rehab (with about the same level of originality). Let’s be real, without the risk of actual death, the reward of living is somewhat muted and Latifah carried it as well as she could but, along with Last Holiday, fell victim to the stereotypes of the genre. Nobody except traditional comedy tropes to blame here and, also like The Lohan, there’s not a whole lot really going on below the surface of this entertaining, though shallow, farce.
Last Holiday is cinematic Prozac; shove this shit up your nose (because that’s how you take Prozac, right?) and ride that high all the way home. Or to your local Wendy’s. Two comedic nipples way, way up.
Take a Drink: whenever Georgia gets curb-stomped by life.
Take a Drink: each time someone is a Grade A dick. Ex. Mr. Adamian, Kragen.
Take a Drink: for every coupon, cooking scene and/or kitchen.
Do a Shot: whenever Kragen does something douchey and/or underhanded.
Take a Drink: each time someone in the film does.
Do a Shot: when Georgia throws money around and makes it RAAAAAAAIN (sadly only figuratively).
Take a Drink: every time Georgia does something batshit insane.
Shotgun a Beer: for every life-or-death reveal.