Movie Review: The Perfect Holiday

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 Emily’s Christmas wish and its romantic and sometimes

humorous unfolding.

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 Nancy’s love interest.

On the down side, the roles of Jamal and Nancy’s girlfriends

are nothing short of one-liners written for the plot’s 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, we’ve seen it in The Best Man, Two Can Play that Game, Breakin’ All the Rules and

even Anacondas, but he’s 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?