Aspen Extreme

1993 Directed by Patrick Hasburgh. Starring Paul Gross, Peter Berg, Finola Hughes, Teri Polo.

REVIEWED By Hollis Chacona, Fri., Jan. 29, 1993

You've seen this fairy tale a hundred times before. Yearning to fulfill his dreams and follow his passion for skiing, little boy bluecollar (Gross) sets out in search of love and the meaning of life in the legendary crown jewel of the Glitterati -- Aspen, Colorado. There, he succumbs to the lure of money and sex (not to mention a house with a great view) offered by wealthy, bustier-clad powermeister Bryce Kellogg (Hughes) only to have tragedy bring him back to his senses and his “Here, I can fix that cut” working class, jeans-and -sweater girlfriend next door (Polo). This is Beach Blanket Bingo, updated with a little Nineties angst. Only instead of banal “pop” musical numbers punctuating the guffawingly predictable plot line, we get intermittent doses of extreme skiing -- that sport where young hot-dogs wearing radio transmitters (so rescuers can locate their bodies beneath 20 feet of snow) and $800 neon Obermeyer Spandex (so they look good) risk life and cartilage skiing treacherously steep and rocky out-of-bounds slopes because, I guess, they're there. Aspen Extreme's one real advantage (and a possible reason why ski pictures have seemingly usurped the beach/surf movie's time-honored annual appearance) is its effective use of stunt doubles. You can get a pretty decent close-up of schussing figures -- hatted, goggled, gloved and snow-suited -- and easily pass them off for the lead characters. (Though now, many years later, my fondest beach movie memory is of Frankie and Annette, arms out for balance, teetering in front of a blue-screened ocean, Annette's hair not even dampened by the ocean surf.) The acting's not bad, the skiing is great and the scenery is spectacular. Still, six bucks is a steep price to pay for a travelogue, especially to a place where extreme prejudice has become as threatening as any vertical drop.

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