Searchlight Pictures | Release Date: February 14, 2020
4.2
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Mixed or average reviews based on 44 Ratings
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5
Stream2BigScreeFeb 25, 2020
Downhill seems to have come from out of nowhere. Suddenly, there is a Will Ferrell movie in the theaters opening on Valentine's Day weekend; and, multi-Emmy-winning comedienne, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is co-lead. One would think that there isDownhill seems to have come from out of nowhere. Suddenly, there is a Will Ferrell movie in the theaters opening on Valentine's Day weekend; and, multi-Emmy-winning comedienne, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is co-lead. One would think that there is comedy gold here, so why isn't there more promotion. Well, there's a little misdirection, here. Downhill is a Hollywood remake of an acclaimed Swedish film, Force Majeure, which was more of a drama than a comedy; and Downhill sets itself apart by adding more obvious comedy elements here, whether or not they are necessary is a separate issue. Nevertheless, the synopsis is as follows: a married couple on a family ski vacation in the Austrian Alps after narrowly escaping an avalanche deal with the simmering tensions and the reality of life and their relationship.

Actually, the premise is quite fascinating. I won't say exactly what happens with the avalanche, but it's pretty well depicted in the trailer. It is a funny situation, but it also is very serious. The problem is that the balance of the tone of the film is not well calibrated. The producers cast comedy stars and asked them to perform in this uneven mix of drama and comedy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great. She's captivating. Her performance mines the wry wit of all that happens, and she hits the emotional depth of the drama. Will Ferrell, on the other hand, is ill-equipped to meet the gauntlet that Louis-Dreyfus throws down. Some of the comedy and reactions of Ferrell are good; but, ultimately, his skill with the dramatic elements is lacking. The push and pull of the couple is the main source of comedy and dramatic tension, and the fact that Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus are so unmatched make it ultimately unsatisfying. It really feels like Ferrell was only cast so that Downhill can be marketed as a Will Ferrell comedy, which it is not.

Additionally, Miranda Otto shows up intermittently as a resort guide, who is ingratiating herself with the main couple. She is boldly only there for comic relief. I felt she was completely unnecessary. Otto is having such a ball as this boozy, free-loving lady that she seems dropped in from another movie. There was no genuine laugh coming from anything she did.

On a positive note, the scenery is beautiful. The film is well-shot and may make you consider going to the Alps on a ski vacation. It's not something that I would want to do, but it looks great. Downhill's other saving grace is the modest runtime. Although it takes a while for the film to get to the meat of its action, it doesn't feel belabored. It gets to its point. I only wish it had actually been either funnier, or that Louis-Dreyfus had a more capable comedic and dramatic actor to work with.

So, Downhill has a good premise, but an uneven cast. The film is short and it looks good for those who want to go skiing. It is not as funny as it pretends to be and the dramatic tension feels weak. I suggest waiting for this one to be on your favorite streaming service. There is a compelling conversation to be had after seeing what happens here if you give it a chance. Actually, give Force Majeure itself a viewing. It’s already available on Hulu.
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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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4
fiftywordreviewFeb 19, 2020
The film starts off strong and has its moments throughout, but too often boils down to a series of uncomfortable scenes with unlikable characters. Not quite funny enough to succeed as a comedy, but lacking dramatic substance, DownhillThe film starts off strong and has its moments throughout, but too often boils down to a series of uncomfortable scenes with unlikable characters. Not quite funny enough to succeed as a comedy, but lacking dramatic substance, Downhill ultimately fails to find its footing. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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4
aviatorboyAug 22, 2020
I watched this movie today and have only three other thoughts to share (since others have already spoken for me). First, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell are outstanding.I paid close attention to their body language, facial expressionsI watched this movie today and have only three other thoughts to share (since others have already spoken for me). First, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell are outstanding.I paid close attention to their body language, facial expressions and line delivery.I feel both nailed it perfectly in conjunction with the emotions (or lack of emotion) called for by the script. Even though both are well known as comedic actors (in their own right), that didn't keep them from delivering very convincing and believable roles as dramatic actors. From my perspective, there wasn't any real comedy to speak of, and certainly no "Iaugh out loud" moments. Frankly, I found the movie to be quite depressing. Lastly, I was confused by the ending scene. Maybe it was meant to cement a specific take-away or a way to show an example of lessons-learned from the whole experience. If so, I missed it. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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4
CKeledjianOct 6, 2020
Is not slapstick comedy, is not subdued uncomfortable laugh like the 2017 original. Is a drama with comedic subtext, and the acting of Julia and Will make it all.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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6
TVJerryFeb 21, 2020
Even though the trailer sells this as a comedy, that is primarily a drama (like Force Majeure, the Swedish film on which it's based). Guessing both of these accomplished comic actors (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell) cherished theEven though the trailer sells this as a comedy, that is primarily a drama (like Force Majeure, the Swedish film on which it's based). Guessing both of these accomplished comic actors (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell) cherished the opportunity to go dark, as a married couple on a ski vacation in the Alps. When an avalanche unsettles things, it causes a reevaluation their marriage. Both of them do a fine job handling something serious, but the script never delves deep enough to be as affecting as it could have been. Interesting, but not exceptional. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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5
bigtechFeb 16, 2020
This is one of those movies with one scene that doesn't work following the next scene that doesn't work. For some reason I didn't hate it. I felt like I kept getting glimpses of a better film, which I found out later is the film this was based on.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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