"I've left a guy for a film, but I've never left a film for a guy," Nathalie Baye says during Day for Night, Truffaut's love letter to the movie business. The animating idea of that film -- that moviemakers are entitled to live in a world of their own, without interference from reality -- is one that 90 percent of West L.A. residents would agree with. The Holiday plays like that world come to life. It's a movie by key grips, for script supervisors. Two out of the four main characters, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Miles (Jack Black) are more-than-comfortable film professionals who have conquered all of life's difficulties, except for finding someone as perfect as them for mating. Miles, a score composer, can't walk through Blockbuster without humming themes. "Two syllables -- da-dum! -- genius!" he says of John Williams. Amanda, who cuts trailers, has that familiar 'voice of God' from the trailers intruding on her thoughts. Since the film has digested the wise teachings of Gwyneth Paltrow, both Miles and Amanda will eventually get intelligent, sophisticated mates from Britain.
Amanda gets the ball rolling after she's dumped by her smarmy-guy boyfriend, Ed Burns. "You're just not willing to be what I need," he informs her. Ready for a vacation, she sits down at a computer and googles up a travel site. "Where do they speak English?" she asks herself, before clicking a big button that says "England." That was easy. She's soon negotiating some vague transaction called a "house exchange," which is exactly what it sounds like: The person on the other end of the modem will show up at your door and expect you to show up at theirs, for a specified period of time. In the real world, of course, the person who arrived on your doorstep would be the BTK Killer, but this is Movie World, so Amanda happens upon Kate Winslet as her swapper. This leads to one of the more hilarious -- does it matter if it's intentional or not? -- scenes in recent memory: a montage of Winslet hanging out the window of a cab, taking in the sights of fantastic, sunny L.A.