Although the settings (sunny LA and snowy England) add a great deal to each side of the stories, this is mostly a character-driven piece. The downside here is that nobody acts natural. Characters hop around wildly when they're happy, make goofy faces when they do something embarrassing, talk to themselves non-stop when nobody's around, etc. - basically, exactly how you'd expect people to act in a romantic comedy... times ten. It all comes down to the actors to make it work. The charming and beautiful Kate Winslet is able to pull off the style effortlessly, and Cameron Diaz's character also seems custom-built for her. Unfortunately, that custom-built character is really starting to grate the nerves. She's always playing, well, herself. There's only so many times you can see Diaz as the goofy but hot and loveable love interest before it gets dull, and THE HOLIDAY puts that in perspective.
Jude Law also seems pretty standard nowadays, as the suave yet mildly awkward womanizer. But at least he doesn't annoy. And, in a turn that will be surprising for some, neither does Jack Black. He easily gets the least screen time out of the bunch, but he's still a very effective love interest. Those who dislike him should be happy with how dialed-down his role is, but at the time his fans will be happy because of how he's able to make the part his own (gotta love that singing of his!). It's a win-win situation for everybody.
Writer/director Nancy Myers seems to not mind being predictable and unoriginal, and this is especially evident in finding out what all of the character's job occupations are (each one has to do with either writing or film - talk about taking the "write what you know" lesson to heart). You really just have to accept that the film isn't trying to break any boundaries or move away from the genre clichés. In fact, it kind of embraces them. Hell, at some points, it even deconstructs them (as such with the movie trailer narration over Diaz's character).
When you get right down to it, THE HOLIDAY is the movie equivalent of a Hallmark card. It's nice, pretty to look at, and it's just filled with artificial sentimentality. For some people, that's enough.
Audio Commentary (with writer/director Nancy Meyers and guests): This uninteresting commentary put me to sleep, with comments about the actors sounding as artificial as the script's dialogue. Still, big fans of the movie will probably enjoy it. The guests that pop in include: production designer (Jon Hutman), composer (Hans Zimmer), and film editor (Joe Hutshing).
Foreign Exchange (18:00): This is the usual making-of fluff, with numerous cast/crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Yawn.