2001, PG-13, 90 min. Directed by The Malloys. Starring Jason London, Lee Majors, Willie Garson, Zach Galifianakis, David Koechner, Flex Alexander, A.J. Cook, Caroline Dhavernas, Derek Hamilton, Victoria Silvstedt.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Nov. 30, 2001
The white powder seen everywhere in Out Cold is not anthrax, but its effect is nearly as deadly. Be a good patriot and avoid this substance. This snowboarding comedy is a smutty, low-brow, PG-13 teen sex farce, and before attacking me for my comparatively elitist aesthetics, consider this: The patron saint of Out Cold (Lewis Arquette, to whose memory the movie is dedicated) is an advocate of drunken, bare-assed snowboarding. (There's even a statue in town of this founder of the fictional Bull Mountain posing with dropped trou … so much for the memory of Sonny Bono.) Generally poor acting (except for the transcendent A.J. Cook) further drags down a flimsy but familiar plot about black-hatted moneyed interests buying out a remote outback, and in the process destroying the region's unique and indigenous culture and habitat. Out Cold makes it so hard to know which side to root for. Lee Majors (playing a character named John Majors) does his best J.R. Ewing impression as the new owner of the mountain he wants to rename Snownook. Majors follows his own version of the Golden Rule: He who has the gold card makes the rules. Jason London and his gang are the resident snowboarding instructors cum drunken, bare-assed snow bums. Their loutish behavior eventually saves the day, but not before they get into a couple of lame romantic scrapes, get some penises wedged into some darn peculiar places (American Pie's pastry poke forever upped the ante on this sort of thing), fantasize about a gondola full of scantily clad snow bunnies, unwittingly excite each other online while trolling lesbian chat rooms, and recap some lines verbatim from Casablanca in what seems more like a vacuous theft than a loving homage. Other characters? There's also the self-denying gay bartender and the former Playmate of the Year Victoria Silvstedt, who announces in her best Nordic accent that she is Majors' schtupdaughter. So little effort is demonstrated in regard to packing all these snow flakes into a solid story bed that it is difficult to treat this movie respectfully. A new pair of filmmaking brothers, Brendan and Emmett Malloy make their feature film debut here with a script by Jon Zack. The one thing that could have saved Out Cold would have been the inclusion of spectacular snowboarding sequences, but even here the filmmakers don't seem to be trying terribly hard. What can you say about a movie that includes its outtake bloopers reel before the closing credits? We recommend you exercise due vigilance against this new white-powder scourge.