The Last Resort

For a film that plays like pleasant fantasy, “Last Holiday” starts with a nightmare. The protagonist Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah), a modest cookware salesperson, gets a woozy head bump after an awkward flirtation with her crush (LL Cool J). After a head scan, the doctor detects some disease that meagerly gives her few weeks left to live. Unable to afford the operation and her questions of “God, why me?” unanswered, she arrives at her last resort: spend her money to the last penny.

There are many unlikely things that happen in “Last Holiday.” I’m dubious as to whether Georgia can afford the luxurious expense, which includes first-class plane ride, helicopter ride, stay at a hotel presidential suite, all entrees in a chef’s menu, spa treatments, and shopping spree. But who really cares. There’s a certain joy in seeing Georgia become carefree with money. Despite the tons of dough involved, the experience looks priceless.

What really makes the movie work is Queen Latifah. When she finds the right roles, she’s hard to ignore. In here, she looks mighty comfortable, easily warming the screen amid a winter backdrop. She hardly brings any celebrity baggage and is credible as a common person awakening to uncommon delights. Even when she is all dressed up in elegance, her genuine persona is still exposed. No matter what the inane plot is up to, it is assuring that Queen Latifah and her Georgia Byrd have nothing but good intentions. While I do like edgy comedies that tickle the gut, I also welcome “comfort food” movies like “Last Holiday.” Why don’t you take a short break from the muggy summer and take a walk in the movie’s winter wonderland?

Grade: B

CAST
Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Alicia Witt, Gérard Depardieu, Jane Adams, and Emeril Lagasse
Screenplay by
Jeffrey Price
Peter S. Seaman
J.B. Priestley
Directed by
Wayne Wang
Rated PG-13 for some sexual reference
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