Downhill review – unsteady avalanche comedy inspired by Force Majeure | Film

Snow rushes down a mountain at top speed; Pete (Will Ferrell) bolts, grabbing his phone and leaving his wife Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and their two children to fend for themselves. The powder settles; no one is hurt, but something’s shifted. Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus are misused in this tonally unsteady comedy drama inspired by Ruben Östlund’s 2014 Swedish-language film Force Majeure. Both films set out to send up a bourgeois couple on a skiing holiday in the Alps as an avalanche disrupts the fragile equilibrium of their marriage.

The performances, especially the brittle Louis-Dreyfus, are admirably grounded, but the script’s comedy wastes time with lazy barbs about European brusqueness and American exceptionalism abroad. Instead of grappling with the consequences of Pete’s feeble masculinity, Billie is simply told by a friend she has “a right to be angry”. The closest the film gets to meaningfully criticising the emotionally absent Pete is with a tossed-off one-liner about a sea-cucumber who “evacuates its organs through its rectum” when it perceives a threat.

Watch the trailer for Downhill.

Source: The Guardian

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