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Nothing Like the Holidays

A 2009 movie directed by Alfredo De Villa.

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Nothing New About Family Holiday Plot Basics, but Enjoyable Otherwise

  • Nov 17, 2009
  • by
I'm a holiday movie addict. I love anything set to Christmas time. Well almost anything.

What I don't care for are movies that rely on time-tested story material with only minor changes based on family ethnicity and general dynamics.

I'm a realist; many American holiday tales look the same from family to family regardless of cultural heritage. Having been raised in several ethnically diverse households, the biggest differences lie in what we eat, when we go to church, and some activities the family does when they get together.

But the basic plot and players are the same.

Nothing Like the Holidays was enjoyable for its acting primarily. I got a few good laughs out of it.

Beyond this, I felt there were too many sub-stories going on that were only held together loosely by the meta-story. Further, I often found myself thinking "Oh, I've seen this character's story in __________".

Overall, this is a serviceable holiday film enhanced by Puerto Rican aspects. I wondered if this would be more enjoyable to Puerto Ricans (particularly in the Chicago area) or if they'd think it was too flat as well.

I give it three stars because it's a relatively cute albeit mindless holiday dramedy. And I love almost all holiday movies.

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More Nothing Like the Holidays reviews
review by . December 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Trying Not To Be Your Usual American Holiday Movie....
Movies about the Christmas Holiday tone are a dime-a-dozen. Truthfully, most movies have the same plot clichés, themes and Holiday cheers. Director Alfredo De Villa's "Nothing Like the Holidays" is nothing different; family issues, disappointments and hope abound in this dramedy. It does have a very strong Puerto Rican theme to it; with full emphasis on Puerto Rican which I enjoyed, it was something different. The film is directed by Alfredo De Villa who was responsible for …
review by . December 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****    If one can get past the countless remakes, modernized adaptations, and clich├ęd love stories that tend to identify with most Christmas fare in the service of film; a film such as "Nothing Like the Holidays" might just come off as, oh I don't know, refreshing. It's a good old fashion family comedy; taking place during the holidays and dealing with a very big family. And while this is, in theory, an ordinary family - how many recent Christmas films are composed …
review by . May 10, 2010
This review was written before my mother passed.      NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS       When watching this movie I noticed something crazy going on and it hit home with me a little, well more so than that. This movie more or less is actually happing to me right now, so that may affect how much I like or dislike this film. This may be a spoiler so you may want to turn away now if you don't want to know. But as of now during Christmas my family has come together …
review by . December 12, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
This isn't a feel-good holiday movie. In fact, you kind of feel bad for this family - and the movie. It's a really odd and uncomfortable assortment of hoodlums, war vet, high-powered hedge-fund managers, and bickering parents. At points, the movie seems to gel and convey a poignant story - particular Debra Messing and her father-in-law. But at other times, it seems as if "Nothing like the Holidays" is torn between several themes and was emotionally confusing. At the end of the day, the movie just …
review by . November 19, 2009
Heartwarming holiday tail about Christmas with the Rodriguez family. The entire clan has gathered in Chicago to spend the holidays at the family homestead; one son is returning from a tour of duty in Iraq; the other "successful" son is trying to balance his wife's career aspirations with his desire for a child and his mother's yearning for a grandchild, while the Rodriguez daughter returns home from Hollywood with admissions that her life is not as successful and glamourous as otherwise thought...all …
review by . November 10, 2009
I think that Christmas movies deserve to be regarded with a separate set of criteria than that applied to the rest of cinema. If the movie revolves around the Christmas holiday, we're likely to forgive the extra cliche' or manipulative tear-jerking moment that might just cost a non-holiday ensemble comedy a star or two. So with that said, Nothing Like the Holidays might just be worth adding to your collection of DVDs. How better to amuse the out-of-town family guests (or their adolescent kids) during …
About the reviewer
Jarucia ()
Ranked #335
   I'm currently a SAHM of a young son. I spend much of my free time writing everything from fantasy YA fiction to product reviews to writer's workshop feedback to articles for nonprofit … more
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Alfred De Villa (WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, YELLOW) directs this tale of a Puerto Rican family gathering at their family home in Chicago's Humboldt Park for the holidays. On the surface, the Rodriguez family has much to be thankful for this Christmas. Eldest son Mauricio (John Leguizamo) is a lawyer on the verge of making partner and his wife is a Wall Street dynamo (Debra Messing), daughter Roxanna (Vanessa Ferlito) is a movie star, and youngest son Jesse (Freddy Rodriguez) has just returned home from a tour in Iraq. For the first time in years, the three siblings will all be home for the holidays, and their parents, Anna (Elizabeth Peqa) and Eduardo (Alfred Molina), are elated. Except that Mauricio's wife isn't Puerto Rican, and despite her mother-in-law's constant pleas, she's in no rush to have a baby. Meanwhile, Roxanna is more of a struggling actress then a star, and Jesse is having a hard time adjusting to regular life and facing Marissa (Melonie Diaz), the "one that got away" when he enlisted.IfNothing Like the Holidaysappears to have little in common with Frank Capra's small-town perennial It's a Wonderful Life, Alfredo De Villa's urban dramedy also mixes the bitter with the sweet. The fireworks begin when Eduardo and Anna Rodriguez (Alfred Molina and Elizabeth Peña) welcome their Puerto Rican brood to celebrate Christmas in Chicago: Iraq War veteran Jesse (Illinois native Freddy Rodríguez), struggling actress Roxanna ...
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DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

First to Review

"Christmas Comedy"
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