Nothing Like the Holidays (2008) starring Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Peña, Freddy Rodríguez, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez, John Leguizamo Movie Review

Nothing Like the Holidays (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Vanessa Ferlito, John Leguizamo and Debra Messing in Nothing Like the Holidays (2008)

The Family Rodriguez Together Again This Christmas

It's Christmas and the entire Rodriguez family are returning home to their parents in Chicago including son Jesse (Freddy Rodríguez) who is on his way back from serving in Iraq. Alongside Jesse there is his lawyer brother Mauricio (John Leguizamo) and wife Sarah (Debra Messing), his actress sister Roxanna (Vanessa Ferlito), relatives Johnny (Luis Guzmán) and Ozzy (Jay Hernandez) as well as old friend Marissa (Melonie Diaz). And everyone seems to be having a good time catching up and winding each other up as well as reminiscing about their childhood and how things use to be. But then around the dinner table their mother Anna (Elizabeth Peña) makes an announcement, she plans to divorce their father Edy (Alfred Molina) which leads to shock and arguments amongst the children as they are forced to face their own issues whilst uniting to try and save the family.

"The Family Stone", "Together Again for the First Time" and "This Christmas" are just three of various Christmas movies which sprung to mind as I watched "Nothing Like the Holidays" as they all feature a family coming together for Christmas and having to deal with various issues which arise. The difference between this and those other family reunion movies is that this time we have a Puerto Rican family coming together to deal with their issues. As such from a narrative point of view "Nothing Like the Holidays" throws up few surprises, yes we have a divorce mentioned and a returning soldier but what we watch is the family reminisce, argue, bicker, wind each other up, deal with their issues and unite. But if you have enjoyed any of those other Christmas reunion movies I mentioned the chances are you will enjoy this too.

Freddy Rodríguez in Nothing Like the Holidays (2008)

But "Nothing Like the Holidays" has something else, it has a real naturalness to it especially when it comes to the bickering and winding up especially with the occasional drop into Puerto Rican. Basically it feels authentic so when Anna does bossy mother and Mauricio tells her she is embarrassing him it feels believable. It is the same with the humour especially when you have those subtle looks between the family and the humour of reminiscing including a funny loft scene surrounding a couch where many of the children lost their virginity.

What this all boils down to is that "Nothing Like the Holidays" isn't anything new and is technically just another one of those Christmas reunion movies. But it has a real energy and honesty to it which makes it worth a watch even when you know it isn't going to throw too many surprises your way.

Tags: Christmas Movies