MICHAEL MEDVED

Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell’s ‘Downhill’ will not leave audiences laughing

Feb 14, 2020, 2:25 PM

Originally two out of four stars; reduced to 1.5 stars

Comedy greats Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star in “Downhill,” a very dark comedy that will certainly not leave audiences laughing.

“Downhill” is a remake of “Force Majeure,” a successful French-Swedish-Norwegian co-production from 2014. The original film includes some gently comedic elements, but does not try to be a comedy.

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The main character has to be sympathetic, but has his weaknesses. With Ferrell in the role, whom we are accustomed to seeing as the lovable doofus in movies, it’s too hard to sympathize with him.

As a middle-class individual, I couldn’t help but wonder how they were paying for this glamorous vacation, given no indication of what they do for a living, nor how they’ve become such accomplished skiers.

This thought, coupled with the point of view of the film, explains why I found it challenging to care about the characters, especially Ferrell. Louis-Dreyfus is wonderful in her role, and is the only character you can almost believe. As a producer of the film, she clearly wanted to do this project, and she gives a fine performance.

It is easy to care about the kids as their parents’ marriage is falling apart around them, but their point of view is largely ignored.

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The story, which shows the painful parts of a marriage during a ski vacation gone wrong and lacks in comedic moments, makes it hard to imagine anyone will come out of the theater thinking it was a fun night at the movies.

It does, however, hammer home the valuable point that sometimes a split second mistake can have a powerful impact on your most important relationships.

Michael Medved on AM 770 KTTH
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Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell’s ‘Downhill’ will not leave audiences laughing