Gabrielle Union and Morris Chestnut make a sexy, caramel couple, don't they? Maybe that explains why they are always paired up in movies. In case you didn't get enough of their chocolate combo work in "The Brothers" and "Two Can Play That Game" and "Breakin' All The Rules," they're once again starring opposite each other in "The Perfect Holiday," a film I'm going to tell you about quickly before it evaporates completely from my mind.
"Holiday" has Chestnut playing a struggling singer-songwriter working part time as a mall Santa. Apparently, this must be one progressive mall if they're hiring a brotha to play the role of the traditionally alabaster St. Nick.
When a little girl (Khail Bryant) hops on this fake Santa's lap, all she asks for is a man to pay her mom (Union) a compliment she tells her friends she would like. Once our Kriss Kringle sees how mochalicious this girl's mama is, he decides to fulfill the wish himself.
This sets off a farcical courtship between the two, which mostly has him keeping an eye out for one of her other children (Malik Hammond), who tries to prank this fool out of his mom's life. (Fortunately, baby girl hips him to her big bro's tricks whenever he's in Santa mode.) The boy wants his mom to get back together with their father (Charlie Murphy), an egotistical rapper our part-time Father Christmas -- who doesn't know he's going out with his ex -- is also hoping to work with.
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As cute and cuddly as this all sounds, "Holiday" is basically forgettable. Even after I saw it, I kept mistakenly referring to it as "This Christmas," that other holiday movie starring black people that's currently out. And while it may appear to be a respectable step-up from co-writer/director/Jay-Z stabbing victim Lance Rivera's last film, his low-rent debut "The Cookout," a film I still believe was mostly financed with food stamps, "Holiday" never rises above the level of lightweight, take-it-or-leave-it piffle. The film even has a supporting cast, mostly made up of former UPN and WB sitcom players (Faizon Love, Rachel True, Jill Marie Jones) who look as if they took the job because, well, they didn't have much else to do.
But something you may find quite baffling are the pointless special appearances by Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard as night-and-day spirits who decide the fate of these characters. Since Latifah's Flavor Unit Films produced the movie, that explains why she's there. But why did Howard, who never looked more like he wanted to be anyplace else in his whole career, feel obligated to appear in this? Did Rivera or Latifah give Howard a kidney? Did they co-sign something for him? What?
Well, at least "The Perfect Holiday" has Union and Chestnut together, once again making black beautiful on the big screen. And, sometimes, even something that small can make a brotha's Christmas.