Out Cold

Out Cold's soundtrack contains songs by Weezer and Old 97's, but plugging in a few songs by The J. Geils Band and Journey would make it 1983 all over again. Shameless, stupid, and strangely endearing, the debut film from music-video veterans Brendan and Emmett Malloy and screenwriter Jon Zack adheres to a formula learned from too many nights spent watching HBO during the Reagan era. Who knew that the influence of Hot Dog... The Movie would still be felt two decades later? Nevertheless, on its own exceedingly modest terms—modest enough that a gag involving an erotic encounter with a hot-tub drainage system counts as sophisticated—it actually kind of works. Atmosphere goes a long way here. The setting is the remote Alaskan ski town of Bull Mountain, a beer-drenched cousin to Northern Exposure's Cicely. Unfailingly pleasant, Bull Mountain is populated by twentysomething snowboarders, colorful local characters, and a soul-patch-equipped hero (Jason London) who can't quite seem to get over a failed romance and warm to the advances of the only attractive woman in a 100-mile radius (A.J. Cook). Their idyll of alcohol-fueled downhill racing gets a serious shaking up, however, upon the arrival of second-billed star Lee Majors (note: this is not a misprint), a ski-industry tycoon intent on making Bull Mountain safe for latte-drinking richies. After a few reels of snowboard action and PG-13 sexy hijinks, the slobs square off against the snobs. While the far-north setting prevents anyone from getting thrown into a comeuppance-filled swimming pool, Out Cold doesn't forget to find a use for the nearby portable toilets. It also finds a use for Casablanca, which it parodies in several sequences, regrettably reminding viewers that the time spent watching Out Cold could be spent with a better film. But it could also have been spent with any number of undemanding recent comedies that aimed nearly this low without summoning a portion of the affection Out Cold creates for its parka-clad losers.

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