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. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell star in this biting comedy.
What We Thought:
Have you seen Force Majeure? If so, you have no reason to see Downhill, the American remake of that film. Even if you haven’t, I still don’t think I can recommend Downhill anyways which is a total bummer.
Even though I do like Will Ferrell, I saw this movie because it’s directed and written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. I absolutely loved their film The Way Way Back and wasn’t really interested in this until I realized they were involved. I like Ferrell comedies, but don’t mistake this for Ricky Bobby on skis. This isn’t Ferrell’s typical slapstick comedy. It’s more layered and goes much darker than his normal farce.
My issue with the film isn’t that it’s not a laugh-out-loud comedy, it’s that I just didn’t care about these people. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell are a married couple with two sons on vacation in the Alps. They go out skiing and somewhat enjoy their time together. Ferrell’s constantly on his phone which bothers JLD. Then an avalanche occurs which sees JLD protecting her two sons while Ferrell gets up and runs away like a coward. He also invites a co-worker and his girlfriend to stop by and JLD is irritated the entire movie.
At some points of the movie I couldn’t stand the wife character. At some points of the movie I couldn’t stand the husband character. By the end of the movie I simply didn’t care about any of them. There’s a helicopter scene that’s just painful to watch with JLD’s character absolutely bothering me. Then there’s a scene with Ferrell and his two boys on a sliding ride (I honestly can’t think of the name of it, Alpine something I think) and he’s just too much to watch with his son character. There’s a fight scene with Zach Woods and his girlfriend that’s super awkward as well.
I think that’s the best word to describe Downhill, awkward. It’s not funny despite having two really funny leads. Faxon and Rash made a fantastic film previously and wrote the Oscar winning The Descendants yet completely miss with their latest film. About the only times I was entertained was when Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju shows up (he’s also in Force Majeure) and Miranda Otto’s character pops up from time to time. Ferrell fans who pay to see this expecting Anchorman could find themselves walking out. I know I was disappointed in it and I wasn’t expecting it to be a Ferrell comedy. It’s going to be a completely forgettable film by the end of the year.
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual material
Running Time: 86 minutes
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Zach Woods, Zoë Chao, Miranda Otto
Directed by: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Screenplay by: Jesse Armstrong and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash. Inspired by the motion picture FORCE MAJEURE by Ruben Östlund
Produced by: Anthony Bregman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stefanie Azpiazu