Before reading this item, please click on this mp3 file — it’ll set the proper mood. Done? Here we go: We all know what the words “directed by Nancy Meyers” mean — glossy, carefully lighted comedies about smart-but- quirky career women who (a) usually have shiny copper pots hanging in their kitchens and (b) have been hurt in past relationships but are looking to make a new unlikely relationship work, even if they start out hating the guy.
If you look at the trailer for The Holiday (Columbia, 12.8), Meyers’ latest romantic comedy, you may say to yourself (as I did), “Well, at least it has Jack Black in it.” But it may be okay. I haven’t yet seen it (and I most likely won’t until the first week of December) but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt. Naaah, can’t do that. Because the damn poster won’t stop irking me. Because it keep telling me “same old, same old” and “asleep at the wheel.”
You’ve got two couples — Cameron Diaz and Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Black — making goo-goo eyes at each other. (Black’s dippy grin makes him look toothless and deballed, on top of which he looks airbrushed within an inch of his life. We seem to be looking at a John Belushi-romances-Blair Bown Contintental Divide situation here.)
I’m just saying there’s something deeply untrustworthy about any poster that says, “Trust these smiling faces.” The Temptations didn’t trust them and I don’t either. What are they smiling about? Nothing, the poster says. It’s just chemistry — Cameron likes Jude and Kate likes Jack and vice versa, and you can count on them getting down in Act Two and putting another log on the fire and turning on the Sinatra and getting to know each other.
It’s just too bad that the Columbia ad guys didn’t try to convey something besides the same old Nancy Meyers stuff. It tells you it’s not exactly the most angular or unusual film she’s ever made. I mean, Columbia has actually made an effort to convey this to audiences. I can’t be the only one having this reaction.