Downhill is a fairly pointless movie. Unsure if it’s a comedy or a drama and unsure of the story it’s trying to tell, Downhill is simply confused, boring and ultimately pretty forgettable. Based on a Swedish film, this American version is too toothless to do the source material justice and too safe to be of any consequence.
Starring Will Ferrel and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a married couple on a family holiday to Austria, cracks immediately begin to show in their marriage and in the film. There’s almost no way that these two people could and would be married in real-life.
They’re polar opposites. He’s soft, distracted and totally swept up in his own issues. She’s hard, decisive, fierce and perpetually disappointed. They really couldn’t be any more dissimilar.
Downhill Movie Review
The crux of the film comes when the family is out for lunch and a controlled avalanche threatens to sweep them all away. At that moment, Billie (Louis-Dreyfus) protects her children while Pete grabs his phone and runs.
It opens up a massive schism between the two that unfolds in passive-aggressive sniping, arguments and totally inappropriate behaviour. However, by the film’s conclusion, Billie and Pete are reunited and back on solid-ish ground.
The bits in between, where they fight and fuss over the avalanche incident, one that Pete downplays and Billie overreacts to, are ultimately for nothing, which is essentially what this film is about.
It’s a shame that such acting and comic talent is wasted here especially since Downhill can never fully commit to a joke or to the drama of a scene. It undercuts itself and moves on before any sense of closure comes to the action on-screen, the characters themselves or the audience watching.
Downhill is definitely not worth checking out and is a real disappointment. Much like the family’s holiday and Billie and Pete’s dead marriage.
Leo Stevenson attended an advance screening of Downhill as a guest of Disney.
Movie title: Downhill