Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Downhill - Review

On paper, Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a film together seems to carry at least a little bit of potential. The two actors have excellent comedic timing in their own right, so together their chemistry should elevate any movie they come into contact with, at least to some degree. For Downhill, they do make the film marginally better, but the overall result of this American remake is one breathe away from a full on disaster.

A woman (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) starts to have second doubts about her husband (Will Ferrell) after he runs away from an approaching avalanche, leaving her and their two sons behind.

As misguided as most remakes of international films tend to be, adapting Force Majeure, the —2014 film from Sweden, didn’t seem like an entirely insurmountable task. Pointless? Maybe. Ill-advised? Sure. But Downhill at least attempts to create something worthwhile in the face of everything against it. The key word here being attempts.

It’s not as though the film is completely devoid of anything worthwhile. As stated before, the presence of Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus both make this film at least a tolerable affair. They both have instances where their comedic muscles can flex, and a few where they are able to work together to squeeze whatever they can from a lackluster script. Even then, it’s not a laugh out loud comedy, but rather a family drama with some awkward situations and laughable logic.

All this being said, it’s still fairly inoffensive as a remake. It doesn’t induce anger from its poor effort or illicit exaggeration of its extremely adequate execution. It’s just an average film, bad in some places, slight better in others, but never outright terrible either. If the premise, or even the trailer itself, caught your eye, you’d be better served seeking out the original, it’s definitely more worthy of your time.

Downhill is actually better than expected, even that means clearing a very, very low bar. What should have, in theory, been an unmitigated disaster, is wholly forgettable due to its utter mundaneness. Ferrell and Louis- Dreyfus are good, the latter making a solid return to the big screen after a long absence, but even their talent can’t lift this beyond a film that will come and go without so much as a spec of anything noteworthy.

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