It's weird not only because Depardieu has recently declared he's packing it in after a series of unfulfilling projects, but also because "Last Holiday" is definitively not Depardieu's movie.
He's a featured player, certainly, but he has precious little screen time compared to almost everyone else in the picture, all of whom are doing their own zombie shuffles through Wayne Wang's listless update of Henry Cass' 1950 comedy about a nebbish who, having been diagnosed with imminent death syndrome or something, decides to blow his savings on a lavish send-off.
In the original, written by J.B. Priestley, the nebbish was played by Alec Guinness. This time around, we get Latifah - someone who, while perhaps not as ideally ordinary as Guinness, does have the kind of instant charm that makes an audience root for her in any situation, no matter how implausible or broadly written. (I haven't seen the original, but I'm pretty sure Guinness never did any base jumping.)
But it also has Depardieu, who stomps into every one of his scenes with a zeal and a commitment to his ridiculous character that shames every last one of his co-stars, and single-handedly makes the movie watchable. It's sort of weird that a movie about someone who only comes alive when she thinks it's all about to end winds up being stolen by an actor who's facing the same situation ... but then it sort of makes sense, too. At least somebody gets it.
Paramount's enhanced-widescreen DVD doesn't offer much in the way of special features ... just two disposable deleted scenes and a half-hour documentary broken up into three featurettes. (The one that charts the script's decades-long slog through development hell is a lot more interesting than the other two, which offer the usual publicity pap about what a great movie everyone's making.)
Two Food Network recipes are thrown in as well, but it seems like a strange gesture unless they expect you to take a portable DVD player into the kitchen as you make Emeril Lagasse's Poulet Tchoupitoulas.
STUDIO: Paramount Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2006
TIME: 111 minutes
DVD EXTRAS: French audio dub; English and Spanish subtitles; deleted scenes; production featurettes; recipes.
INTERNET SITE: lastholidaymovie.com