4/10 “Downhill” is a remake of the 2014 Swedish film “Force Majeure”, which, while flawed, was still more heartfelt and original than this bland attempt to dumb it down for American audiences. It is a shame really since there are some aspects to this version that do work well. The best thing about this film by far is Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her terrific performance. Due to the movie being released so early in the year and the fact that it isn’t a good movie will mean that this movie has a 0% chance of getting any Oscar nominations and therefore people will unfortunately forget about what a terrific performance Dreyfus gives. Will Ferrell is fine but we’ve already seen him play similar roles before in better films so his acting talents aren’t stretched or really put on display here. Another aspect that really works well is the score and soundtrack. The score provides us with the environmental feel of the Alps and the community of winter sports enthusiasts mixed with tourists and the soundtrack injects a more American vibe so we get a solid mix of this distant home away from home in America. There were a couple of moments that made me laugh as well and the movie is well paced so it goes by quickly without dragging. Besides those positive aspects, the rest of the movie goes…downhill. The script makes all of the supporting characters outside of the main family feel like caricatures of real people who are very one note and underdeveloped. The most glaringly painful example of this is Miranda Otto’s completely over the top character, Charlotte, who is so over the top, not funny (but desperately trying to be) and always conveniently just so happens to always run into our main characters, despite the fact that this is a very crowded place. The other couple vacationing that meets up with Ferrell and Dreyfus also just felt like dumb millennial stereotypes with no personalities outside of the description I just gave them. “Force Majeure” had issues but it at least felt like it had a message and the dad in that film had a far more interesting plot thread than Ferrell does here. This remake feels empty and meaningless as it adds nothing new to the story already established in the original. The children in this movie also have nothing to do except take a back seat to their parents’ struggles, which were a wasted opportunity due to their lack of stakes and tension. Despite the couple of laughs, almost all of the other attempts at humor fell flat. It’s a shame Dreyfus wasted her talents on such a lackluster movie. If you want a better version of this movie, check out “Force Majeure” instead and feel free to avoid this movie like an avalanche.
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