Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 1:30 - Released 11/21/01

Out Cold serves as both the freshman effort of writer Jon Zack and the debut project of co-directors Brendan and Emmett Malloy; my personal opinion is that it is the result of a bunch of drunk snowboarders who got ahold of a camera. Surprisingly, though, despite the fact that the film is obviously little more than a vehicle to show off the truly amazing (actually I think the word is "AWESOME!") snowboarding talent by people who may or may not be the actual actors in the film, it is quite funny at times. While Tomcats attempted, with pathetic results, to raise "boys will be boys" humor to feature film level, this one is more successful, with silly antics and amusing characterizations by a bunch of virtually unknown actors.

Attempting to add gravity to the film with a retread (snowtread?) of the Casablanca story line, our lead character is Rick (Jason London), the all-around nice guy who is known to all his friends who work at the remote and rustic Bull Mountain ski resort, Alaska, as the "king of the mountain." And even though Rick enjoys the friendship and respect of his beer guzzling/snowboarding pals Luke (Zach Galifianakis), "Pigpen" (Derek Hamilton), Anthony (Flex Alexander), Lance (David Denman), and even resident hottie Jenny (A.J. Cook), who makes no secret about her desire to go out with him, Rick can't forget the girl who broke his heart, Anna. After meeting and falling deeply in love, the couple spent a few weeks together until Anna inexplicably disappeared.

But Rick's heartsick problems soon pale in comparison to the trouble brewing in town when wealthy and arrogant developer John Majors (Lee Majors of Six Million Dollar/Fall Guy fame) decides to buy the resort from its weaselly current owner (Willie Garson) and transform it into a high-profile, multi-million-dollar, latté-serving playground for the rich and famous, as the newest addition to his chain of "Major Resorts." While this change will surely attract untold numbers of fabulous chicks to the resort, including Majors's own Swedish stepdaughter Inga (Victoria Silvstedt), a blonde bombshell who makes all the guys drool, it also means that all resort staffers have to wear stupid looking uniforms and cowtow to Majors, who has decided to change the name of Bull Mountain to "Snownook." The real bombshell comes, however, when the town is visited by Rick's old flame Anna (Caroline Dhavernas), who turns out to be 1) engaged to be married and 2) Majors's other daughter.

While the Casablanca-esque love story (which includes lines from and other overt references to the classic film) does more to induce nausea than any other emotion, Out Cold has its moments, primarly those populated by Galifianakis, whose affable characterization of Luke is almost as amusing as Jack Black in High Fidelity. Then there are the wacky antics of Saturday Night Live alum David Koechner, playing a sort of narrator/town loony, whose skewed monologues and affected physical mannerisms will remind SNL fans of his amusing "T-Bone" character. Finally, interspersed with the prank-playing and various silliness of the gang is the kind of spectacular snowboarding footage you'd see in a Mountain Dew commercial, shot at the Apex ski resort in British Columbia. Numerous out-takes featuring bone-crushing flubs of these scenes are featured during the end credits.

There's no question that the creative team behind this film is still wet behind the snowsuit, but although its main plot is a disposable low-rent ripoff and its leading players generally bland and undistinguished, there are some truly amusing supporting characters which make it at least worth seeing when it arrives on video. **½

Copyright 2001 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

Current | Archives | Oscars | About | E-Mail