Two women trade homes only to find that a change of address can change their lives. Iris (Kate Winslet) is in love with a man who is about to marry another woman. Across the globe, Amanda (Cameron Diaz), realizes the man she lives with has been unfaithful. Two women who have never met and live 6000 miles apart, find themselves in the exact same place. They meet online at a home exchange website and impulsively switch homes for the holiday. Iris moves into Amanda's L.A. house in sunny California as Amanda arrives in the snow covered English countryside. 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 (Wallach), mends her heart when she meets film composer Miles (Jack Black).
Dustin Hoffman appears in the video rental store in an uncredited came as Jack Black talks about the score from “The Graduate”. According to Hoffman, this was unscripted and unexpected. He was going to Blockbuster for a movie, saw all the light and came over to see what was going on. He knew director Nancy Meyers, who scripted a short scene with him in it.
The interior sets for Amanda's house were built on a sound stage and cost approximately $1 million, without exterior walls, a roof, plumbing, heating and electricity.
Director Nancy Meyers states in the commentary that she bases elements in her movies off of real life events that she's experienced, for example the esophageal spasms that Cameron Diaz's character has, which is something Meyers use to experience herself.
Iris: You're supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God's sake!
Graham: Long distance relationships can work, you know.
Amanda: Really? I can't make one work when I live in the same house with someone.
Amanda: You know Graham, I just broke up with someone and considering you just showed up and you're insanely good-looking and probably won't remember me anyway... I'm thinking we should have sex... If you want.
Graham: Is that a trick question?
Graham: I have a cow and I sew. How's that for "hard to relate to"?
Amanda: I need some peace and quiet... or whatever it is people go away for.
Meyers can write a good zinger, and she has a knack for casting actors who not only look good in bed, but are talented enough to rise above the material and, in some cases, nearly transform it (save Diaz). But make no mistake: We're a long way here from Ben Hecht and Preston Sturges. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas of The Village Voice.
Ms. Meyers, whose ambitions are telegraphed by her film's title, which directly invokes George Cukor's lovely 1938 romp "Holiday," has created a cumbersome vehicle by saddling Iris with a flamboyantly glamorous Los Angeles double, Amanda. As played by Cameron Diaz with oodles of charm and not an ounce of persuasion, Amanda doesn’t as much mirror Iris's love troubles as throw them into wincing relief. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis of The New York Times.
The Holiday is no vacation. Sloppy writing, an overindulgent editor, and poor casting have taken an intriguing premise and transformed it into an uneven mess. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli of Reel Views.
For some (okay, me), The Holiday, like the holidays, will require some girding up, and is best met halfway with a self-immunizing smile. Otherwise, the good cheer may ring false; worse, it might even seem to sell love cheap, and lovers short. Reviewed by: Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail (Toronto).
Holiday-themed chick flick is OK for teens. Parents need to know that this holiday-themed chick flick will probably appeal to older tween and teen girls, who could get mixed messages from some of the characters' behavior. Several scenes focus on drinking and drunkenness; two of them lead to sexual encounters. This unsafe behavior is presented as cute comedy. Plus, a single father suggests that he sometimes gets drunk to "compartmentalize" his life and deal with his sadness over his lost wife and the pressures of being a fulltime dad. Characters frequently get emotional. A woman punches her cheating boyfriend so hard that he falls to the ground. A couple of "f--k"s and other minor language. Reviewed by: Cynthia Fuchs of Common Sense Media.