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Friday, July 10, 2020

Downhill 2020 * * * Stars

Downhill Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Year: 2020
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Miranda Otto

"There's only one thing I have to worry about right now, one obligation and that's going down". So says the punching bag, sad sack persona of Pete Staunton. Staunton is played by Will Ferrell who keeps the funny shtick to a standstill in 2020's Downhill (my latest review). Oh and Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Staunton's grating wife Billie. Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus really get out of their comedic comfort zones to give startlingly raw performances. Elaine Benes and Ricky Bobby, we hardly knew ya!

Anyway, Downhill is not a comedy or even a black comedy as some people might have suggested. Just call it American Beauty minus the dark side with a slight lane of awkwardness. Yup, if you've ever had reservations about getting hitched, Downhill might halt and force you to keep those reservations.

Downhill (2020) • Movie Reviews • Visual ParablesSo OK, Downhill is a remake of a 2014 Swedish film titled Force Majeure. I haven't seen "Majeure" so I'm basing my write-up here on something viewed with fresh eyes. Yeah, yeah, yeah I'm aware. As voiced by other critics, the original did it so much better.

Now would I recommend the independently felt Downhill? I thought I already did. It's a revealing snapshot of two people getting through a crappy marriage by using an avalanche and slalom skiing as coaxed metaphors. Would I call it entertaining in a Brady Bunch vacation sort of way? Uh no. Downhill is demoralizing, snippy, and a little cold (no pun intended). It uses frustrating drama as a backdrop to beautiful mountain scenery via the Austrian tourism industry.

Downhill' Review: Ferrell, Louis-Dreyfus Redo a Swedish Art ...With lush, snow-blind direction by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash and some Enigma-style music by German Volker Bertelmann, Downhill becomes eighty-six transitory minutes of numbing character inquiry. It's a "slippery slope" that despite having a sometimes pedestrian script, gets a rating of three stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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