Downhill Review


Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are known for their comedy background, with a lot of funny projects under their belt. Audiences will get to see a more serious side of the two in Downhill, a film that is categorized as both a comedy and drama. In it, the actors play a married couple on a family ski vacation in the Alps. An avalanche has caused the two to reexamine their relationship, causing tension and drama during a family outing. As a comedy and drama, Downhill is too safe in the middle.

Downhill is a remake of Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure, and Nat Faxon and Jim Rash are attached as directors and writers with Jesse Armstrong attached as a co-writer. Ferrell plays Pete, a father and husband who abandons his family during an avalanche, a time where they needed him the most. This is the reason for the rift in his relationship with his wife, Billie, who’s played by Louis-Dreyfus. Throughout the film, he makes unwise choices that would upset Billie, like trying to make plans with another couple without asking her first.

The film pretty much revolves around Pete and Billie’s relationship slowly breaking apart, whether they’re arguing about inviting another couple over to hang out or figuring out what the next plan is for their vacation. Their actions can be relatable, and other times the writing feels clumsy as if the two are total strangers. Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus are comfortable as a married couple, and their fun to watch together. However, they could have benefited from a more engaging story.

Miranda Otto plays Charlotte, a woman who helps the couple spice up their trip. Her talent feels wasted in this film since her character feels like a caricature. It’s a fun role to be had, but she only serves to help push Pete and Billie further away.

Pete and Billie’s children are very much supporting characters to the point where they might as well be invisible. Their main purpose is to make the audience appalled by Ferrell’s action.

Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), who was in the original film, also makes an appearance in this. For what little time he has on the screen, his performance can crack a smile.

Downhill isn’t as dramatic as it can be, and as a comedy, it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but there’s a certain charm in seeing the two comedy actors together in something a bit more serious. This may not be enough to warrant a watch, but it was refreshing to see Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus bust out their serious side here and there.

Score: 3/5 Atoms

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