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Nothing Like the Holidays

4.1 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's Christmastime and the far-flung members of the Rodriguez family are converging at their parents' home in Chicago to celebrate the season and rejoice in their youngest brother's safe return from combat overseas. For Jesse, coming home has rekindled feelings for an old flame, although she can't seem to forgive him for leaving. His older sister Roxanna, a struggling actress, has been chasing her Hollywood dreams for years with little to show for it. And much to the dismay of their mother Anna, eldest brother Mauricio brings home a high-powered executive wife who would rather raise capital than a child. In the course of one eventful week, traditions will be celebrated, secrets revealed and major life decisions made. It all begins when Anna announces to her children she is divorcing their father Eduardo. The shock waves from this familial upheaval prompt Roxanna, Mauricio and Jesse, each in their own way, to reevaluate the past and rethink the future. But when the Rodriguezes learn that one of their own is facing a true crisis, they instinctively pull together: Old resentments are forgotten, familial bonds are re-affirmed and the healing power of laughter works its magic as the family discovers they are much stronger than they ever realized.

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If Nothing Like the Holidays appears 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 (Death Proof’s Vanessa Ferlitto), and attorney Mauricio (John Leguizamo) and his tightly-wound spouse, Sarah (Debra Messing). While Roxanna finds herself drawn to family friend Ozzy (Jay Hernandez), a former gang-banger, Jesse struggles with his feelings for ex-girlfriend Marissa (Melonie Diaz), who's moved on in his absence, and Anna laments her lack of grandchildren, but when she announces she's divorcing Edy, a bodega proprietor, the entire clan decides to make the most of their last holiday together. If De Villa's intentions are honorable, and his cast is up to the task--especially Molina and Rodríguez--the two halves of his film make for an awkward fit. Jesse's shell-shocked veteran, for instance, belongs to a different movie than that of his wisecracking cousin, Johnny (Luis Guzmán). Then, when Ozzy picks up a gun in an act of revenge, domestic drama and ethnic comedy collide with the hood flick. Unlike the many brash and materialistic entertainments crowding the multiplex at the end of the year, Nothing Like the Holidays prioritizes cultural and emotional matters, but still registers as more of a missed opportunity than a contemporary classic. --Kathleen C. Fennessy



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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, Freddy Rodríguez, Jay Hernandez
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LK8UP0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,830 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nothing Like the Holidays" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a fun movie - lots of hilarious moments with a great ensemble cast. You get the feeling that the actors had a lot of fun when they did this film.
Beside being funny it also makes some valuable statements about family life, forgiveness, healing and accepting our humanness.
An altogether warm viewing experience - something there for every generation!
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Allow me to quote from my review of "Four Christmases," released only a few weeks ago: "I don't need to spend $8.75 to be told that we should spend time with our loved ones, even if they're completely insane. By now, I think we all know." As much as I believe this to be true, films like "Nothing Like the Holidays" prove that even well established messages can still be effective. This movie is everything "Four Christmases" was not: funny, touching, and intelligent, with drama that actually feels genuine. While it gives us just about everything we've come to expect from the typical holiday movie, it makes the most of what it's got, and I have a feeling that just about everyone will find it relatable to certain degree. It's a family drama that has just the right balance of humor and heart, and it features a number of actors that naturally fit into the material.

"Nothing Like the Holidays" tells the story of the Rodriguez family and the drama that befalls them during the Christmas holiday. The father, Edy (Alfred Molina), is the owner of a Puerto Rican grocery store in the middle of Chicago, and he'd like nothing more than for one of his sons to someday take over the business. Unfortunately, he and his wife, Anna (Elizabeth Peña), are having a great deal of problems. Anna is a very unhappy woman. For one thing, she has reason to believe that Edy is cheating on her, with his constant cell phone calls and late nights out. Furthermore, she would like nothing more than for her son, Mauricio (John Leguizamo), and his wife, Sarah (Debra Messing), to bless her elderly years with a grandchild. When in the same room together, Anna regards Sarah not with scorn, but with a quiet air of disappointment, as if to say she could be doing a much better job.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an amazing movie. It is filled with such family spirit that you almost forget that you are watching a movie. What makes it so great is that they are so close. The producers really picked some great actors. Like I said doesnt seem like a movie at all. I could watch this over and over again and will be. A great movie to watch every holiday!
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nothing Like the Holidays is an urban drama-comedy about a family get-together in the Puerto Rican part of Chicago: it was entertaining, it was funny, it was boring, it was good, it was so-so, it was warm-hearted, it was lively, it was dull, it was clear, it was confusing...this movie was just ALL OVER the place! While I enjoyed being introduced to each character and their own storyline, and then watching them all come together for a Puerto Rican family Christmas, there was just too many of the multiple plot lines all over the place, making it an enjoyable movie because of the humor, but unenjoyable because it took a lot of 'work' (i.e. brain power) to enjoy the movie! I think Christmas movies should be fun, entertaining & meaningful!

For those of you who are concerned about content, I would not call this a family friendly film: it's PG-13, and it earns its rating: there is quite a bit of language, and plenty of references to drugs and sex...not kid friendly.

I enjoyed this holiday film, but I doubt I would ever watch it again: I tend to watch Christmas movies over and over again, but this one just doesn't make the cut: it was good, but not great, a familiar story but not told well, with great acting performances and a 'bleh' storyline...enjoy if you must!
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is not your typical "father knows best" or "Hallmark-style" movie. One it should be noted for Language-the beginning has some profanity. There's some innuendos but one line points out that "children his age don't understand innuendo. It is a good story. The setting is urban and the lifestyle is more urban than not. It could be considered a Hispanic version of a Christmas story because it has some cultural traditions, some traditions just of the neighborhood. So, it's a cross of "The Preacher's Wife", "This Christmas" and a bit of the tv show, "Brothers & Sisters". It has a good message and deals with families, misunderstandings, lack of communication. One brother has just returned from war and the movie depicts some of the fallout of being away from loved ones, of making choices and dealing with the results of choices. It deals with some of the effects of war both on the veteran, their families at home and the perspectives of war and all it entails. Another brother is a progressively modern Professional who married a girl of different ethnicity and it shows the experiences and sometimes perspectives of subtle differences of education and changes that occur with exposure, varied socio-economic differences, acceptance and non-acceptance, emotions. It deals with love and family and some of the realities of the world as it is in 2009. Basically, the movie explores a number of emotions, lightly enough (and with some comedy) not to be boring but deep enough to make an impression. In the end, you'll still get a warm and fuzzy feeling.
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