Last Holiday 
Blu-ray Romantic Comedy
Written by Noah Fleming   
Friday, 09 January 2009

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"Last Holiday" got shafted at the box office, remaining in theaters for less than two months and grossing only $38 million (the majority of which was accumulated in the opening weekend.  For some reason or another, it did not have great word-of-mouth.  Regardless, this film is a wonderful delight.

"Last Holiday" has charm, a good story, and characters that you love and hate.  All that makes for a slightly above average romantic comedy.  I can't really come up with anything bad to say about this film.  It warms the heart.

The film is a remake of the 1950, Henry Cass film of the same name, starring Alec Guinness.  In Cass' film, the roles were reversed.  The man was the center of the film, whereas in the 2006 remake, the woman is the main character.

Queen Latifah, who really does have acting skills on top of her singing career, stars as Georgia Byrd, a hopeless romantic that works in the cookware section of a major department store, Kragen's.  She pines for one of her co-workers and spends all her spare time creating extravagant food dishes.  Her book of possibilities contains all the things she wants to do in life, but never gets to.  One unfortunate day, she hits her head on a cabinet at work and is taken to the department store's built-in, full medical center.  Using a used CT machine, she is given a CAT-Scan.  The results show that she has an advanced stage of a rare brain disease, living her with only a few weeks to live.

After cursing out God, she sets off to Karlovy Vary, Prague, for the Grand Hotel Pupp.  With the small world that this is, she arrives at the same time as Kragen, the owner of her former place of employment and Senator Dillings, for her little Louisiana hometown.  Since Byrd arrives via helicopter and stays in the presidential suite, she attracts a lot of attention.  She quickly befriends the hotel's star chef, Chef Didier.  While she just insists on living each day to its fullest, everyone else tries to find out exactly who she is.

I won't spoil the ending, even though I'm sure you all can guess how it ends.  Every character gets their just desserts.

The video is presented in 1080p with an MPEG-4 AVC encode and 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  The quality is quite stunning, but still falls short.  The details in the foreground are explicit.  Costume weaves can easily be seen.  The details in the background are a bit soft.  Fleshtones fluctuate throughout the film.  For the most part they are good, they due tend to push toward the red spectrum.  Colors are normally strong.  However, this is also where the quality gets its biggest deduction.  The colors are over-saturated and have a really strong push toward yellow and orange.  This causes a glow that resembles a halo effect.  The black levels are strong and inky, while the contrast level is fairly even.

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  Once again, it is another lackluster track.  It is very front-heavy.  The dialogue is clear, however, it does waver a points.  There is no air surrounding the audio.  It is very tight and makes you feel claustrophobic.  There is only minor bleeding in the surround channels.  Surprisingly however, the LFE channel does contain some good information.  The music is given prominence in the subwoofer, which was unexpected and quite a treat for a romantic comedy.  A solid audio presentation, but ultimately uninspiring.

There are relatively few bonus materials on the Blu-ray.  First, there are a few featurettes.  "'Last Holiday:' Packing Light" is a typical making-of featurette.  "'Last Holiday:' Last Look" is a location featurette.  "'Last Holiday:' 23 Years in the Making" examines the history of the project.  Lastly there are a couple of deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer.

"Last Holiday" is definitely worth adding to your collection.  It is a fun film, with a bright and vibrant image and decent audio track.
Studio Paramount Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Alicia Witt, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Gerard Depardieu, Jane Adams
Director Wayne Wang
Film Release Year 2006
Release Year 2008
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080i (supplements) • 480i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Running Time 1 hr. 51 mins.
Sound Formats English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • English • French • Portuguese • Spanish
Special Features "'Last Holiday:' Last Look"; "'Last Holiday:' Packing Light"; "'Last Holiday:' 23 Years in the Making"; Deleted Scenes: "Kick the Car - Where to Cowboy?"; Theatrical Trailer
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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