A bestselling crime novelist who is desperately looking for a new story hones his focus on the apparent suicide of a small-town woman, an aspiring model who thought she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe.
Boyd Mitchler and his family must spend Christmas with his estranged family of misfits. Upon realizing that he left all his son's gifts at home, he hits the road with his dad in an attempt to make the 8-hour round trip before sunrise.
There has been nothing on a Holiday film told from the point-of-view of a Latino family. That is until "Nothing Like The Holidays". Being a latino myself, at first I was dubious that this theme would fly and devour creativity in a Holiday film. I mean all I would have to do is videotape my own family Holiday gatherings, put the footage in a film editing machine and there you have it= A latino Holiday flick. But I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the cinematic gift of "Nothing Like The Holidays". Alfred Molina and Elizabeth Pena play Edy & Anna Rodriguez, the paternal protagonists of the flick. Mr. E-Rod and Mrs. A-Rod (not the one you're thinking) reside in an area of Humboldt Park in west Chicago. They own a convenient grocery store. Freddy Rodriguez plays their military son Jesse who served in Iraq. John Leguizamo plays the eldest son Mauricio, a successful New York executive married to a career-driven gringa named Sarah portrayed by Debra Messing. And Vanessa Ferlito plays the saucy daughter Roxanna Rodriguez, an amateur actress living in Tinsletown. It is the Holidays, so the Rod Clan unites and shoot steroids. Oops, wrong Rodriguez story (Sorry A-Rod, the one you are thinking.) Anyways, The Rodriguez do reunite for Christmas and as many latinos would tell you "there is never a dull moment" when that ritual happens. The Latin Holiday dinners are filled with lechon, maduros, jamon, turrones, plenty of alcohol but of course there are spices of vivaciousness, neurosis, dominance, machismoism, and egoism. And there is plenty of that in the Rodriguez clan and even leftovers for their close friends. Let's just say that "Silent Night" is not the Latino Christmas Theme Song. Eventual subplots of The Rodriguez Bunch are what create the plot line toys of "Nothing Like The Holidays". But I will not scrooge it up and open that plot present, and let you see for yourself. Director Alfredo De Villa developed an effective relational latino Christmas character village in helming the film. And Writers Greetings goes out to Screenwriters Alison Swan and Rick Najera for their entertaining and endearing screenplay. The acting ensemble of the film was not lacking with authentic thespian presence, but Alfred Molina and Freddy Rodriguez performances were the ones in the acting wonderland department. However, top acting nods here goes to Debra Messing for her grand performance; you just don't mess with the Messing! I did also enjoy strong supporting work from Jay Rodriguez and the great Luis Guzman as friends of the family. To wrap it up, "Nothing Like The Holidays" is something for the Holidays to make you smile! **** Good
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