Chalet Girl Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Chalet Girl
Reviewed by Sophie Whin on August 28th, 2011
Paramount Pictures
presents a film directed by Phil Traill
Screenplay by
Tom Williams
Starring: Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Bill Nighy, Bill Bailey and Brooke Shields
Running Time: 96 minutes
Rating: PG
Released: September 1st, 2011


3/10

 


The list of romantic comedies that just don’t ‘pop’ seems like an ever-increasing norm in the film industry. Whether it is the two-dimensional plots, the lack of chemistry between the lead characters or even a complete absence of reality, the flaws of a poor rom-com cry out at you with deafening persistency. Chalet Girl, directed by Phil Traill, can now join the ranks of meaningless puff pieces that seem to crowd our screens every summer. The film follows the trials and tribulations of English teen Kim (Felicity Jones) as she attempts to balance her new profession as a chalet girl, whilst she pursues her recent love of snowboarding in the Austrian Alps. We are first introduced to Kim from montage coverage of her champion skateboarding days. Following her mother’s death in a car accident, she has decided to hang up her board and take care of her unemployed dad Bill (Bill Bailey). As she endeavour’s to pay the mounting pile of bills, a friend from her work suggests she take a position as a chalet girl for some quick cash. It is at this juncture that Kim is suddenly transported across Europe to work for the family of rich banker Richard (Billy Nighy) in his Swiss style mansion on the edge of the ski fields. With hours of time to herself and navigating her infatuation with Richard’s son Jonny (Ed Westwick), Kim is drawn to the snow and attempts to master snowboarding in the hope of winning the 25 000 euro grand prize in the freestyle snowboarding competition at the end of the season.


Traill’s film is overly predictable and every scene is nothing we haven’t seen before. One believes that Traill tried to play with the cliché’ of clandestine relationships, yet the under development of all the characters does nothing to hide the gaping holes in the script by Tom Williams. Was this film supposed to be a coming of age comedy or a passionate romp in the snow? The third factor of Kim dealing with the shock of her mother’s death only serves to muddle the already conventional story. The comedic talents of Billy Bailey and Bill Nighy are wasted and the confusing relationship between Richard and Jonny’s respective others (Brooke Shields and Sophia Bush) does nothing to renew our faith towards inter-sex liaisons.  What is also questionable is the direction of Westwick’s character as the male lead. Are we supposed to believe the whole ‘I’m-a-rich-kid-but-not-happy’ mentality that is crammed down our throats from his introduction? As expected, Kim overcome’s Jonny’s façade and seems to be the only person in the entire Alps who understands him. The film is not entirely flawed, with the rapport between Kim and fellow chalet girl Georgie (Tamsin Egerton) indulging our love of British twang. The cinematography of Austria is quite stunning and the action shot’s of the snowboarding competition are exciting enough to see the film through to its conclusion.


After the flop of his previous film All About Steve (2009), Phil Traill’s ill-fated venture into convoluted comedy has done nothing to heighten his credentials. Chalet Girl does not showcase enough captivating features to balance out the banality of the plot or the sappy ending, complete with cast singing throughout the closing credits. Despite a solid a performance from Jones, Traill’s film lacks the spark that that goes hand in hand with this genre and ultimately the audience is left with little to empathise with. Perhaps if the abominable snowman had made an appearance and eaten Kim in her downhill run, the dynamics of the film would have held some surprises and not blatant mediocrity.






 
 



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