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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Raises questions along lines of "what would I have done in that situation?" and about nature of cowardice. Why do we judge so-called "cowards" so harshly, when fear is a part of all of us? Also blurs these themes with its odd character development and sour attempts at humor.
Positive Role Models
Not too much in the way of admirable behavior, but even though she's controlling and makes mistakes (like kissing a man other than her husband), Billie clearly cares for her kids and her relationship and puts her family first. She's also self-aware of her own needs, despite moments of anger and yelling.
Violence & Scariness
Fierce, frequent arguing. A character wipes out while skiing and hits head hard. Sudden "boom" sounds; controlled avalanches. Drunk character tries to start a fight in a club.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married woman kisses another man; afterward, she goes into a bathroom stall and tries to masturbate. The man massages her legs, moving closer and closer to her crotch area. A man sneaks into a bathroom where his wife is showering (he intends to get in with her). Strong sex talk/innuendo.
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Infrequent language includes uses of "f--k," "bulls--t," "p---y," "jackass," "d--k," "nuts," "stupid," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Commercial ski gear shown throughout (POC, Quantum, Salomon, etc.), with logos visible. Teens and pre-teens prominently wear Beats by Dre headphones.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character gets extremely drunk in a bar. Character mentions taking "shrooms." Social drinking, drinks with dinner, etc.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Downhill, a remake of the Swedish film Force Majeure, explores an act of cowardice. Expect a fair bit of strong language, with uses of "f--k," "bulls--t," "p---y," and more, as well as a lot of sex talk/innuendo. A man sneaks into the bathroom, voicing his intention to shower with his wife. A married woman receives a massage from a ski instructor; he works his hands up her legs, and she kisses him. She then tries to masturbate in a public restroom. There's frequent arguing, scary "boom" sounds and an avalanche, and a man tries to start a fight in a club. A character gets extremely drunk, someone mentions taking "shrooms," and there's social drinking throughout. It stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus but isn't really a comedy; in fact, it can't seem to quite figure out what it's trying to say or how to say it. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
An odd, misguided remake of a 2014 Swedish movie, this sour, muddled comedy seems to have missed the original's point. Here, it's 86 minutes spent with detestable people who argue and make excuses. Force Majeure was an excruciating black comedy so deliberately level and deadpan that it forced viewers to ask themselves the unanswerable question: What would I have done if it were me? Downhill, on the other hand, draws all of its attention to its unlikable characters -- and it's likely that many viewers' only thought will be: How soon can I get out of here?
Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus are great performers, and both try their best here. Ferrell is, frankly, miscast. Much of his comedy comes from a sense of childlike arrested development juxtaposed with a big man's body. He's never been about masculinity or bravery. And poor Louis-Dreyfus mainly shrieks and fusses and looks pinched and angry, except in one strange slapstick sequence during which she nearly sleeps with a sexy ski instructor. Co-writers/co-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, whose wonderful The Way Way Back did seem to have a grasp on human behavior, simply can't decide on what they want to say in Downhill, or how to say it. They settle on a bizarre, semi-humorous ending that borrows a little from the Swedish film but misses its ambiguity.
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