Nothing Like the Holidays

Nothing Like the Holidays

4.5 2
Director: Alfredo de Villa

Cast: Alfredo de Villa, Freddy Rodriguez, John Leguizamo, Debra Messing


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Freddy Rodriguez, John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, and Elizabeth Peña star in Washington Heights director Alfredo de Villa's earnest family drama about the importance of familial relationships in times of personal crisis. The snow is falling and…  See more details below


Freddy Rodriguez, John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, and Elizabeth Peña star in Washington Heights director Alfredo de Villa's earnest family drama about the importance of familial relationships in times of personal crisis. The snow is falling and Christmas has come to Chicago. For the Rodriguez family, there is particular cause to celebrate this year; youngest sibling Jesse (Rodriguez) has recently returned home safe and sound after fighting in the war overseas. But as the members of the Rodriguez family converge on their parent's home, there's a strange sense of tension lingering heavy in the cool winter air. Despite the fact that Jesse is doing his best to get back in the good graces of his old flame, she seems reluctant to forgive him for leaving in the first place. Meanwhile, his older sister, Roxanna, has little to show for time spent chasing her Hollywood dreams, and eldest brother Mauricio (Leguizamo) is married to a high-strung executive who seems more interested in advancing her career than starting a family. But while none of this sits too well with concerned mother Anna (Peña), the bombshell she's about to drop could prove the straw that broke this family's back. When Anna announces to her children that she is planning to divorce their father, Eduardo (Molina), Roxanna, Jesse, and Mauricio instinctively pull together and begin to reevaluate their past while looking at the future in a whole new light. Later, as lingering resentments are let go and weakened bonds are reaffirmed, the Rodriquez family begins to experience the healing power of laughter while discovering that together as a family they are far stronger than they ever could be apart.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Everybody has a favorite Christmas carol: a song that if by chance you hear it anytime during the year you'll recall wonderful winter memories of family and friends. Everybody also has a 37th favorite holiday tune: one that they never think about, but don't mind hearing when it comes on the radio some time after Thanksgiving. In that regard, Nothing Like the Holidays is more "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" than "Silent Night." For a while, director Alfredo de Villa whips up a light and enjoyable variation on the traditions of the large dysfunctional-yet-functional-family holiday film. Alfred Molina plays convenience store owner Edy, the father of the rambunctious Rodriguez clan, which includes oldest son Mauricio (John Leguizamo), a successful white-collar professional married to Wall Street warrior Sarah (Debra Messing), a WASP who's never felt totally accepted by her in-laws. Then there's only daughter Roxanna (Vanessa Ferlito), a struggling actress in L.A., and youngest son Jesse (Freddy Rodriguez), an Iraq War vet who pines for an old girlfriend, and suffers from guilt for causing the death of a fellow soldier. All the while, matriarch Anna (Elizabeth Peña) cooks a never-ending supply of delicious-looking food, and constantly complains about not having grandchildren. The first half-hour of the movie gets all these people under one roof to celebrate Christmas together, and watching the ensemble is enjoyable -- the playful bickering has a warm familiarity to it. And if the film maintained this breezy tone for the entire time, it would be a low-key charmer, but when resentments and secrets come spilling out of everyone, the film's attempts at drama can't match the comedy. Serious scenes involving infidelity, lost love, and survivor's guilt never feel as natural as the good-natured moments of familial bonding, but instead feel like ham-fisted attempts to inject the characters with some emotional weight. While it is true that nothing all that original happens during the funny parts of the movie either, the family's Puerto Rican heritage gives the movie's comedy a unique spin. For example, Uncle Johnny (a scene-stealing Luis Guzman) kids Mauricio about when he and Sarah will make some "sorta Ricans." If the drama were as culturally specific as the comedy, the movie would be much more memorable.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Nothing like a Family: Cast reunion; Audio commentary with actor / producer Freddy Rodriguez, director Alfredo De Villa and producer Robert Teitel; Bloopers; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Freddy Rodriguez Jesse
John Leguizamo Mauricio
Debra Messing Sarah
Alfred Molina Eduardo
Jay Hernandez Actor
Melonie Diaz Actor
Vanessa Ferlito Roxanna
Luis Guzman Actor
Elizabeth Peña Anna

Technical Credits
Alfredo de Villa Director
Reid Brody Executive Producer
Thomas J. Busch Co-producer
Budd Carr Musical Direction/Supervision
John Coniglio Editor
Daniel Clancy Production Designer
Amy E. Duddleston Editor
Nora Felder Musical Direction/Supervision
Susan Kaufmann Costumes/Costume Designer
Scott Kevan Cinematographer
Paul Kim Executive Producer
Paul Kim Executive Producer
Rick Najera Screenwriter
Paul Oakenfold Score Composer
Ted Perkins Screenwriter
Rene M. Rigal Executive Producer
Freddy Rodriguez Executive Producer
Alison Swan Screenwriter
Robert Teitel Producer
George Tillman Producer
Mary Vernieu Casting

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Nothing Like the Holidays
1. Main Titles [2:59]
2. Welcome Back to Humboldt Park [3:15]
3. Family Reunion [8:00]
4. Catching Up [8:12]
5. Dinner Table Drama [7:54]
6. Sibling Rivalry [8:54]
7. Edy and Son [8:12]
8. Religious Counseling [6:21]
9. Neighborhood Bar [7:51]
10. Keeping Secrets [5:54]
11. Parranda Time [2:54]
12. La Nochebuena [2:53]
13. Payback Time [4:05]
14. Health Issue [:30]
15. New Beginnings [7:21]
16. End Credits [8:52]


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Nothing Like the Holidays 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
The title of the movie says it all, "Nothing Like The Holidays," explores what really happens when family members tell the truth and stop lying. Viewers receive some insight into "true" family life during this family's Christmas celebration. With a "wild" and "wacky" sometimes "tacky" behaving cast including John Leguizamo, Luis Guzman, Alfred Molina, Freddy Rodriguez, Jay Hernandez, Melonie Diaz, Elizabeth Pena, and Debra Messing movie watchers are sure to have a few chuckles. Be cautioned about the adult language, adult relationships, and sexual innuendo presented to make this "real" family be true to today's family situations. Some of this may appear to be rather dysfunctional, yet it seems to be true to how families interact with each other in today's society. If you enjoy this DVD you may want to consider the DVD "Stuart Saves His Family" starring "Stuart Smalley" aka Al Franken former actor on Saturday Night Live.