Just as sure as Christmas comes around every year; Queen
Latifah and Flavor Unit films are becoming festive staples by bringing rarely
memorable yet family-friendly comedies to the silver screen. For 2007,
Latifah is at it again with another let-love-rule satire, The Perfect Holiday. Reminiscent of Bringing Down the House and
Last Holiday, Gabrielle Union stars as the homely, one-dimensional matron, Nancy
- the mother of two pre-teen boys and a female toddler.
The youngest child, Emily (Khail Bryant), has only one
Christmas wish: simply for her mom to smile again and be given a compliment by the
man of her dreams. After a failed marriage with ignorant and sadly
stereotypical super rapper and music producer, J Jizzy (Charlie Murphy), Nancy
is left lonely and yearning for the warmth of a good man. This yearning is the
catalyst of young Emilys Christmas wish and its romantic and sometimes
Part of the comic stew of The Perfect Holiday includes the antics of J Jizzy and his
seemingly ethical employee, Delicious, played by Katt Williams. Both of these
comedians can hold their own in the belly roll department, but together their
exchange feels weird and unbelievable. The other supporting cast is Nancy’s
two girlfriends; played by familiar faces from past UPN favorites, Rachel True
from Half & Half and ejected Girlfriend, Jill Marie Jones. Huggable
and loveable Faizon Love rounds out the list of funny actors as Jamal, the
confidant of Nancys love interest.
On the down side, the roles of Jamal and Nancys girlfriends
are nothing short of one-liners written for the plots forward movement. None
of the supporting cast felt genuine or real we are actually watching Jill,
Katt, Charlie and Faizon. It was as if Lance Rivera, the director, called all
his friends over and told them he was about to shoot a movie. The combination
of a weak script, weak acting and a lack luster production made this film
doomed from the start.
The singular shining light of The Perfect Holiday is our main man Morris Chestnut who portrays
Benjamin, a genuinely charismatic and especially caring white-haired Saint Nick
- and loving suitor for this hopeless mother. Benjamin is the perfect
gentleman, the perfect date and that chocolate thunder appeal that he possesses
is the icing on the Christmas cake. Sure, weve seen it in The Best Man, Two Can Play that Game, Breakin All the Rules and
even Anacondas, but hes still got it and
Queen Latifah is banking on the fact that the audience still wants it.
The Queen pairs playfully with Terrence Howard as the
characters of good and evil; changing costumes and accents every so often
throughout the film. Their presence in The
Perfect Holiday adds an urban narrative flow to the otherwise make-a-wish
plot. In that respect, The Perfect Holiday is a hip little
ditty to check out with the family that wants to be holiday spirited. If not
for the holidays, why bother?