"Depend on it, sir: Nothing so concentrates the mind like the prospect of being hanged in a fortnight." – Samuel Johnson
Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) lives in New Orleans, with a carefully-structured life that suggests she'd probably like her life to be less carefully structured. She sings in the choir – but stays quiet at the back. She works in the housewares section at Kragen's department store – but never gets up the courage to ask her cute co-worker Sean (LL Cool J) out. She cooks gourmet meals for the kid next door, Darius (Jascha Washington) – and then eats her Lean Cuisine entrees as he tucks into what she's slaved over. The morning Georgia finally decides to ask Sean out, the attempt turns into a disaster as she whacks her head on a cabinet – and turns even worse when a subsequent CAT scan reveals that Georgia's going to die of a rare brain illness within three weeks. So, if she's going to die, Georgia figures, why not live?
Directed by Wayne Wang, Last Holiday is a remake of a 1950 film that starred Alec Guinness. And part of what makes this reiteration of the story so refreshing is that when you think of current film stars with a resemblance to Alec Guinness, you do not probably immediately think of Queen Latifah. What also works in the film's favor is that it takes two performers who we're used to seeing enjoying the acting equivalent of playing high, wild horn solos and has them instead play more muted tones that mesh well with the gentle feel of the film. Last Holiday is a rare thing – light comedy that's actually funny, a spiritual and heartfelt film that doesn't drown you in syrupy simplicity and not just led by a charismatic and funny lead actress but also with a great team of supporting players for her to bounce off.