The sentimental holiday flick Nothing Like the Holidays has won over many critics who rarely wax sentimental over the films they review. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times says that while the screenplay "to a necessary degree" is formulaic, "the specifics, and especially the acting take charge, and the movie becomes funny, sad, corny, romantic, heartfelt, all when it needs to be." Christopher Borrelli writes in the Chicago Tribune "Watch the way [the characters'] faces brighten in conversation, the smiles that spread across their faces in moments of genuine warmth. It's what we need at the holidays, and it's the modest goal of a modest little picture like this -- to capture something heartfelt and real." Although the film centers on a Puerto Rican family, "the turf is well-traveled," writes Claudia Puig in USA Today, who adds, "the characters' camaraderie and their palpable sense of ethnic pride trumps the predictability and makes for a tale that is pleasantly appealing." Or as Elizabeth Weitzman puts it in the New York Daily News "Sometimes it's fun to unwrap a present even if you already know what's waiting inside." Still, many critics are not buying any of it. " Nothing Like the Holidays. Nothing like entertainment," concludes Kyle Smith in the New York Post. And Chris Kaltenbach in the Baltimore Sun asks, "Is there anyone out there who hasn't seen this movie a dozen time before?"

12/12/2008