Insomnia File #47: Downhill (dir by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash)


What’s an Insomnia File? You know how some times you just can’t get any sleep and, at about three in the morning, you’ll find yourself watching whatever you can find on cable or Netflix? This feature is all about those insomnia-inspired discoveries!

If you were having trouble getting to sleep at two in the morning last night, you could have turned over to HBO and watched Downhill, the remake of Force Majeure that was released in February.

Downhill tells the story of annoying family taking a ski vacation in Austria.  Billie Stanton (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a high-powered attorney who gets annoyed when things don’t go perfectly.  Pete Stanton (Will Ferrell) is …. well, he’s Will Ferrell playing a typical Will Ferrell role.  He’s a big. annoying dofus who spends all of his time on his phone and who is constantly telling the same long, boring, faux profound story about his dead father.  They have two annoying sons and it’s pretty obvious from the start that neither Billie nor Pete is particularly happy with how their marriage or their lives have turned out.  When Pete abandons his family during a minor avalanche, it leads to Billie realizing that Pete doesn’t really seem to be that much into his family or his marriage.  But, since that was obvious from the start, it’s not really that big of a revelation for the audience.

Downhill is a frustrating film to watch, especially if you’ve seen Force Majeure.  Downhill takes the basic storyline of Force Majeure and all of the issues that were raised by Force Majeure and then it explores them in the shallowest way possible.  A lot of the trouble comes down to the fact that Will Ferrell is a good comedian but he’s an inconsistent dramatic actor.  The film tries to work as a dramedy but Ferrell approaches each scene as if it were a sketch on Saturday Night Live.  As a result, Downhill is less like Force Majeure and more like an episode of The Office where D’Angelo Vickers takes everyone skiing.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a little bit more grounded in reality but there’s really not much to her role, beyond being annoyed.

I did like the performance of Zach Woods, playing a pretentious friend of the couple and bragging about how he went skiing on shrooms.  Woods has a talent for suggesting the oddness that often hides behind the most straight-laced of facades.  And the scenes with Miranda Otto as a decadent libertine would have been funny if they didn’t feel as if they belonged in a totally different move.  For the most part, though, Downhill fell flat.

Previous Insomnia Files:

  1. Story of Mankind
  2. Stag
  3. Love Is A Gun
  4. Nina Takes A Lover
  5. Black Ice
  6. Frogs For Snakes
  7. Fair Game
  8. From The Hip
  9. Born Killers
  10. Eye For An Eye
  11. Summer Catch
  12. Beyond the Law
  13. Spring Broke
  14. Promise
  15. George Wallace
  16. Kill The Messenger
  17. The Suburbans
  18. Only The Strong
  19. Great Expectations
  20. Casual Sex?
  21. Truth
  22. Insomina
  23. Death Do Us Part
  24. A Star is Born
  25. The Winning Season
  26. Rabbit Run
  27. Remember My Name
  28. The Arrangement
  29. Day of the Animals
  30. Still of The Night
  31. Arsenal
  32. Smooth Talk
  33. The Comedian
  34. The Minus Man
  35. Donnie Brasco
  36. Punchline
  37. Evita
  38. Six: The Mark Unleashed
  39. Disclosure
  40. The Spanish Prisoner
  41. Elektra
  42. Revenge
  43. Legend
  44. Cat Run
  45. The Pyramid
  46. Enter the Ninja

One response to “Insomnia File #47: Downhill (dir by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash)

  1. Pingback: Insomnia File #47: Downhill (dir by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash) – Kisafilms.com

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