Movie Review: Holiday in the Wild25th December 2020
Christmas, a time to spend with the family, friends, and food. Cherish those memories, pack them up into a small box, and hide it away. Far from the reaches of the Netflix conglomerate, who will pry and needle their way into every conceivable celebration to capitalise on the commemoration of quality time and overindulgence. Do not overindulge in streaming content. Holiday in the Wild is your traditional love affair, set to the backdrop of elephants in the wild, a deeply inspirational and genuine catalyst for the creation of this Kristin Davis and Rob Lowe-led piece. A charmless iteration of the shallow comedy romance audiences has seen for generations, but without the plucky charm or star power needed to carry such a film.
From footage that could’ve been purchased from a CNN B-Roll archive to music that sounds as if it would fit a chirpy form of in-flight airliner music, Holiday in the Wild does not open to the best of starts. The hustle and bustle are shown as something many wish to escape from. Or at least, that is what we as an audience will have to assume. Holiday in the Wild is wrapped in mystery, not through efforts to make itself unreadable, but because the effort from cast and crew simply isn’t there. Nothing is connected, a strange alienation between director Ernie Barbash and his work can be spotted from time to time when he auto-pilots his way through a flatlining experiment of genuine mundanity.
Holiday in the Wild truly is a fascinating abomination. From its sets that are half-finished with some horrid CGI, to woefully dull upper-class cretins swanning about the place making life miserable for all us normal people. Looking for love after her husband leaves her, presumably to spend more time funnelling money into start-up companies, Kate Conrad (Davis), jets off to her second honeymoon alone. Lowe, however, is oddly charming. One of the few actors with a natural ability to polish off some solid acting when the script would accept any sort of phoney nonsense.
To be eaten alive in a safari park would be a preferable fate than to watch Holiday in the Wild. That’d be the saving grace of this film, if Lowe and his co-stars had fended off the great beasts of the jungle, predator meets prey in a broadly obvious excuse for Netflix to throw Barbash and his cast to a holiday destination far from the offices of the streaming titan. At least then they’re far enough away from the laughter of executives reeling at the thought of Kristin Davis playing second fiddle to an elephant. Lots of elephants in this one, far, far more than you’d expect for a novelty fluff piece relying on complacent directing and finding love in a country far away.