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Stars: Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Miranda Otto, Giulio Berruti

Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

A remake of a much better Franco-Swedish film called Force Majeure, this drama with a few comedic overtones focuses on an American family, the Stauntons: husband (Ferrell) and wife (Dreyfus) - in a rather edgy relationship - and two sub-teen boys, who go on a skiing holiday in the Austrian Alps.

Agreeing on almost nothing, the Stauntons' uneasy relationship is further fractured by the arrival of a minor avalanche that bears down on their resort and almost buries them in snow. Pete Staunton flees for cover, leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves, an act of selfish cowardice that torpedoes any chance of good feelings between them.

Subsequently, Pete takes the boys to a nearby more family-oriented resort where he gets thrown off the rail ride for crashing his toboggan onto one of his son's cars, while wife Billie flirts with (and passionately kisses) her hunky ski instructor (Berruti).

Two friends who also arrive at the Stauntons' resort find themselves in the middle of appropriately icy marital discord.

Occasionally, the film does hit the mark, or finds the right note, but, for such a short movie, the pace is often sluggish and the borderline-boring scenario gives us characters that never spring to life. Fans expecting a bawdy Ferrell comedy will be disappointed, a few cusswords their only consolation.

David Quinlan

USA/Ireland/Austria/Sweden/.Hungary 2020. UK Distributor: Disney (Searchlight Films). Colour by FotoKem.
86 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Feb 2020