Downhill

Directed by Nat Faxon, Jim Rash. With Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Zach Woods, Zoe Chao. Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.

A remake of a better film (Force Majeure) this one stars two of America’s most known and best recognized comedians in a film that doesn’t seem it intends to be a film about funny people. My problem is I’m nearly completely unable to take either Julia Louis-Dreyfus nor Will Ferell seriously, which this story really does demand that the actors not be mugging for the camera in every scene and that they have a certain amount of anonymity that these two simply don’t have. They definitely didn’t play anything up for laughs, but it’s hard to break away from the expectation that they were going to start making SNL level jokes or start going down the ski hills backwards.

There’s some big changes here too, which I don’t think service the story very well at all. In the original, the father does straight up abandon his family, but it’s clear that there’s room for interpretation in his actions for what his intent was, even if he didn’t know himself. In this English remake, it’s obvious that the father is out for himself and the wife turns into a straight up horror show of uncomfortable emotions.

Had I never seen the original, this remake would get a “meh” from me, but having seen the superior film, the remake gets a solid “boo” for both it’s casting choices and story changes.

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