Saturday 1 October 2011

Today's Review: Chalet Girl

Chalet Girl has been out to rent for a few weeks (It's all about the Blockbuster exclusives people), but it's going on general release on Monday, so I'm still timely with this review despite avoiding for a while. It looks like the traditional soppy romantic comedy, but people have actually said it was quite good, so I decided to give it a chance.

Felicity Jones plays Kim, a former pro skateboarder who is stuck working in some nameless chicken based takeaway after losing her drive following the loss of her mother. All of a sudden, the girl she's apparently been working with for a while decides to inform her that there is a higher paid job that she can recommend Kim for. No idea why she held off so long, but after discovering she's not quite posh enough to cater to rich clients, she is given an opportunity anyway and is sent off to a chalet in Austria owned by some rich people. While there she attempts to save lots of money to help her hopeless dad (Bill Bailey), but ends up getting distracted by a new found love of snowboarding and the owner of the chalet's son, Johnny (Ed Westwick).

Guess what happens in the end? Go on, I dare you. We all know what's going to happen as soon as she picks up a snowboard, and especially when she decides to enter a local competition. We also know what's going to happen when she meets the guy she's got her arms around on the poster. But there are all the awkward situations and twists and turns that you'd expect. There are some funny parts, and it is slightly less cringeworthy than most romantic comedies, but it still ends up being all too predictable.

I think the trouble is they tried to cram a bit too much into it. Yes, there's a love story, but the main focus on the movie seems to be about Kim's developing snowboarding skills. This is what sets the movie apart from others, and it's actually quite neatly done. But they spend so much time focusing on it that the love story seems very tacked on and rushed. There's no real relationship development between the two, he's just a bit nice to her and suddenly it's love or something.

Jones plays Kim well though, despite the soppy tangents she goes off on she plays the attitude laden independent woman quite nicely. Bill Bailey and Bill Nighy turn in good performances as the main characters' parents, but no one else is too inspiring. Perhaps it's just because their characters had no development, but it didn't seem like they were giving it their all either.

All in all there's just too much going on, and not enough focus on any of it. As I said before, if the love story was dropped it might have been better. Not every woman in a comedy needs to get with a man to make her happy, maybe all she needs in life at the moment is her snowboard, and not some fling with a guy who is so lovely because he smiled at her and said some nice things. Come on people, give me some love I can believe in.

My rating: 2/5

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