This is kind of like naming your band Standing Room Only. Theater owners must have known when they signed up for this film that they would have to add at least one extra week. It will probably work our fine.
The Holdovers reunites Sideways alums Paul Giamatti and director Alexander Payne in a Christmas story of three lonely, shipwrecked people at a New England boarding school over a very snowy holiday break in 1970. The comedy stars Giamatti as Paul Hunham, an odiferous, optically-challenged adjunct professor of ancient history who is universally disliked by students and faculty; Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb, the head cook of the school whose only child Curtis was killed in Vietnam, and Dominic Sessa, in his film debut, as Angus Tully, a student at the school — a smart, damaged, troublemaker but a good kid underneath who’s just trying to make his way. Left to their own devices in the empty school, there are adventures, a little calamity and finally, a semblance of family.
I did not like Sideways and The Descendants as much as everyone else did, but I loved Election and Savages, and I love Paul Giamatti. The New York Times likes this one a lot, “Alexander Payne’s jaunt to the past . . . is crackling with pungent life.”
Rated R. running time: 2 hours, 13 minutes.
The Holdovers, through December 14, Avon Cinema, 270 Thayer Street, (directions)