Holiday Movie Advent Day 8: Last Holiday | Holiday Film Advent Calendar | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Holiday Movie Advent Day 8: Last Holiday

In these dark times, it’s comforting to see a good person win for once.

click to enlarge Queen Latifah living her best life. - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Paramount Pictures
Queen Latifah living her best life.
What better way to spend two hours this holiday season than watching Queen Latifah look gorgeous and live sumptuously during a vacation at a luxury European resort? There’s nothing better, and you’re lying to yourself, your family, and everyone around you if you insist otherwise. 

Last Holiday, a 2006 remake of an obscure 1950 British dark comedy stars Latifah as Georgia, a quiet, hardworking woman toiling in the kitchen section of a department store, all while dreaming of being a gourmet chef and pining after her sweet coworker, Sean (LL Cool J). After a doctor gives her a damning diagnosis (don’t worry-in movies like this, it’s never as bad as it seems), she takes her life savings and goes on a secret vacation to a deluxe hotel in the Czech Republic, where she quickly becomes besties with a world-renowned French chef (Gérard Depardieu), who is taken with her love and knowledge of food. As the guests and staff try to figure out the beguiling mystery woman, Sean sets out on his own journey to find her.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Last Holiday is watching Latifah’s transformation from drab to fab, and all the personal fashion show montages, spa treatments, and wacky thrill-seeking hijinks that come with it. Latifah and Depardieu also have an undeniable chemistry, so much so that it seems like the French film star is actually falling in love with her as they trade lines about pork belly.

The main reason I find Last Holiday so charming, despite its corny concept and broad humor, is because I get to see good things happen to a good person. My heart swells each time Latifah appears in a stunning gown, draped in jewels, her hair impeccably coiffed. When she first enters the hotel’s restaurant and orders every dish off the menu, I want to scream, “Yes, girl! Live your life! Eat all the buttery goodness!” And as expected, all her dreams come true in the end. And honestly, in these dark times, it’s comforting to see a good person win for once.

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