5.5

Nothing Like the Holidays

Movies  |  Reviews
Text
Nothing Like the Holidays
Release date:Director:Writers:Cinematographer:Starring: Studio/Run Time:Serviceable holiday romp thrives on castIs it really a cynical gesture to cast Hispanics in the reunion holiday-comedy staple and call it new?Nothing Like the Holidays

In that spirit, it's fair to assume the people who can stomach such movies know who they are. That goes double for those who can’t. Whether or not to see Nothing Like the Holidays should be decided strictly along those lines, but for those of us who opt in, the movie is a serviceable, occasionally funny tour of the tropes that have made this genre work for years.

Sure, the movie pushes some candy-coated buttons (a son is a recent Iraq veteran, and immigration jokes abound), but mostly it’s the same matriarchical overdrive, old sibling conflicts and lost romance from back in the day. Same people, different dishes on the dinner table, though in truth it is the largely Hispanic cast that brings real virtue to the movie—mostly because it provides an opportunity to spend time with underused actors. When's the last time Freddy Rodríguez got to reprise the soulful, anguished sincerity of his Six Feet Under years, or Jay Hernandez was in a movie where he wasn't on the run from some primal threat? These might be stock Hollywood roles, but as is always the case, the right cast can bring them to unexpected life.