This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser
DOWNHILL – R – 1 hr. 26 mins.
DIRECTORS: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
WRITERS: Jesse Armstrong, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (Screenplay)
Ruben Ostlund (Original Screenplay)
STARRING: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Zoe Chao, Zach Woods, Julian Grey, Ammon Jacob Ford, Miranda Otto and Kristofer Hivju.
Inspired by Ruben Ostlund’s film Force Majeure (2014), we meet married couple Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Pete (Will Ferrell), on holiday in the Alps with their sons Finn (Julian Grey) and Emerson (Ammon Jacob Ford) as Pete tries to regroup after the death of his father. When an unexpected avalanche hits, almost taking out Billie and the boys, surprisingly it seems that Pete managed to save himself, and his phone from peril, while leaving his entire family in harm’s way. Now, as Billie and Pete are forced to evaluate their feelings for one another after the harsh reality of Pete’s actions sets in, it looks like this vacation is may be one of those cruel times in married life, when you must decide…do I stay, or do I go now…
I give DOWNHILL a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD: This Americanized remake of Ruben Ostlund’s 2014 film Force Majeure, was brought to the big screen by one of the most fabulous female comedic actresses of our time, Julia Louie-Dreyfus, serving as Producer on this film, and also starring as one of its leads, and by two other comedic actors of both the small and big screens at the helm Directing too, Nat Faxon (Bad Teacher, The Way Way Back, Tammy, Sex Tape) and Jim Rash (That 70’s Show, The Way Way Back, Captain America: Civil War). So with all this comedic power bringing this film to the big screen for us to enjoy, I was hoping for some incredibly funny moments throughout, as they even saw fit to cast Will Ferrell opposite Louie-Dreyfus, which should make for a few roaring good moments right? Well…not so much. Even though I think that this film is quite entertaining when it was all said and done, it also feels like it has so much more potential that it manages to achieve, from the story playing out on screen. And as marriage stories go, when you know from the trailer that things aren’t looking too promising, you prepare yourself for the worst, but even with that sentiment going in, Downhill didn’t manage to become the truly depressing film I was expecting it end up being either. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Louie-Dreyfus and Ferrell are both fabulous actors that took a chance on these more dramatic roles, and they definitely do deliver their performances throughout, I was just hoping that there might have been a few more comedic moments strewn within the frames, thus lessening the dramatic tone, allowing their comedic timing that we know and love to shine, but no such luck. And to Faxon and Rash’s subtle changes throughout on their rewrites of the screenplay from the original film, I say, they didn’t really add or detract from the original in any true significant way either, which made me ask…then why change it at all? But to that means, I did like that they incorporated a role for Kristofer Hivju in this film too, even though it is different from his role in the original film, giving a nod to Ostlund’s film too. And even though I’ve just shared that Downhill just doesn’t become the film that I feel it could have been, if you enjoy Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell and are wanting to head out on this Valentine’s day to see them try to save their marriage in the midst of a holiday in the Alps, don’t let me stop you, because this film as a whole was definitely entertaining. I am just warning you that if you’re thinking going in that these incredible actors are going to knock your socks off with their dramatic roles this time around, I wouldn’t go that far either…which is why I am going to let you decide if you want to see it at a theater near you now, or wait for it to hit on DVD a few weeks from now…because it’s really your call!