Idol Chatter

perfecthol.jpgBilled as “an African-American take on the classic and beloved Christmas family film,” I am naturally inclined to support this genre of film because I think it’s important for African-American kids and families to have the option of seeing themselves up on the big screen when they go to their local multiplex or pop a DVD into the player.
Everyone needs to define themselves through positive role models and stories as told through their unique cultural perspective so that, as they mature spiritually, they can learn to look beyond those perspectives to find out how much more alike, than different, we all are. To that end, this film is a wonderful seasonal flick that trumpets the universal values of love and family, wherever found, over the material concerns of fame and fortune.
I’ll also add that I’m a big fan of Queen Latifah; she’s a multi-talented entrepreneur par excellence and she always puts a smile on my face. She’s one of the producers of “The Perfect Holiday” and serves as its angelic “Miracles can happen, y’all!” narrator.
Unfortunately, this harmless romantic comedy about a divorced mother of three finding new love puts the “k” in “klunky.” From the opening animated title sequence of Queen Latifah falling into traps in some weird Spy vs. Spy routine set by her nemesis, Bah-Humbug (played by Terrence Howard who I’m guessing lost a bet at some point in his past), I couldn’t stop saying to myself throughout this film, “Almost!” I could see where they wanted to go with many of the scenes and jokes, but cinematic empathy does not an enthusiastic review make.

It’s safe to say that this film has awkward moments from the first frame to the last. Though there’s only so much even the most skilled director could do with such an uninspired, paint-by-numbers screenplay, it’s obvious that most of the klunkiness comes from Lance Rivera’s direction which means that this “black holiday film” suffers like most niche films (think Christian or gay-themed films) from a lack of experience and vision behind-the-camera.
As it so happens with most of the movies I review for Idol Chatter, “The Perfect Holiday” has no talk of religion in it. There is a heap of spirituality that you’ll find completely in line with any religious moral system, but the reason for the season in this Christmas flick is noticeably absent. Santa 1, Jesus 0.
On a more positive note, the film deals extensively with divorce issues that affect kids year round, not just at Christmastime, and I think young viewers will really appreciate seeing these common family problems aired out and worked through onscreen. In that sense, this is a good movie that may spark healing conversation in families.
The film is also full of insanely attractive people, from Gabrielle Union and Morris Chestnut as the two romantic leads to her three über-adorable children, this movie certainly won’t damage your eyes.
All my criticisms aside, I must admit that I left the theater with a smile on my face. There were some genuinely funny moments in the film and somehow they managed to capture the feeling of the holiday season. That’s worth something, right?
In the end, “The Perfect Holiday” is a socially-relevant film that tackles the difficulty of divorce and stars a lot of pretty people. Good fare, especially for the children of divorced families, but otherwise, a rough-around-the-edges niche film with its training wheels in full view.

— Written by Todd Havens

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