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The Last Holiday

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Queen Latifah stars in Wayne Wang's remake (of a 1950 British comedy) as Georgia, a timid retail clerk who secretly dreams of faraway places and a career as a gourmet chef. Told she has only a couple weeks to live, Georgia cashes out her life and goes on a spending spree in Europe, where at death's door she blossoms into the sexy, savvy butterfly she could have been all along. This harmless empowered-by-Oprah fantasy, while based on a ludicrous premise, is carried off ably by Latifah: She has a warm, engaging presence, and either by luck or by skill keeps even the revamped, glamorous Georgia grounded in her jus' folks self. Sharing Georgia's development are a top chef (Gerard Depardieu) and a sweet potential boyfriend (LL Cool J). You won't be surprised to find that things end well, though the location shooting in pre-Katrina New Orleans renders some parts of this fantasy all too real and bittersweet. (AH)

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