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Getting Snow Bored With `Out Cold'

The frostbitten fiasco on skis resorts to stale humor and coasts to a low point in the teen comedy genre.

November 21, 2001|JAN STUART | FOR THE TIMES

The teen comedy is one of the sillier misnomers in Hollywood, since these films invariably showcase actors who are well beyond college sophomore slump and favor a below-the-belt notion of humor most appealing to a pre-pubescent generation.

"Out Cold" marks the lowest reach of a genre that is itself synonymous with the word "nadir." Reheating every stale "American Pie"-style confection that has come before, this frostbitten fiasco is a "Dude, Where's My Snowboard?" for mall rats who would rather blow a small fortune on stupid movies than save for a ski vacation.

Pushing-30 love god Jason London plays Rick, the brightest bulb among a dim gang of snowboarding resort employees in Alaska whose extreme deprivation of sex and brains leads to embarrassing situations. (I don't doubt that the film's producers used some variation on this very sentence to sell the script to Touchstone.) While his buddies Luke (Zach Galifianakis), Anthony (Flex Alexander) and Pig Pen (Derek Hamilton) are busy getting their privates stuck in places where they don't belong, Rick is mooning over an old amour who has suddenly stepped back onto his radar screen.

The gang is seriously challenged when land developer John Majors (played by a black-cowboy-hatted Lee Majors) threatens to clean up their decadent backwater town and turn it into a snow world for yuppies. Suddenly, the local saloon is forced to can the bronco-busting act and the boys are sent marching to the bathroom with plastic cups to relieve themselves for drug testing. One of them emerges, predictably enough, with a sample of the wrong waste product.

It's the perfect image for a smelly and instantly flushable comedy that telegraphs punch lines in advance like a boorish dinner party guest. The script's selective political incorrectness is sensitive to the perceived prejudices of the day, which means that the token homosexual character is allowed to drop his wrist in the name of gay power while the token black is not permitted to shuffle for civil rights. There are a few well-executed snowboard stunts, but they would be much happier in the briefer and taller guise of an Imax documentary.

"Out Cold" enlists the services of two directors (brothers Brendan and Emmett Malloy), one presumably to say "action" and the other to say "cut." Given that the film stretches on for an endless 89 minutes, one might infer that the second guy was out cold for the better part of the production.

MPAA rating: PG-13, for language, crude and sexual humor, and substance abuse.


'Out Cold'

Jason London...Rick Rambis

Flex Alexander...Anthony

Derek Hamilton...Pig Pen

Zach Galifianakis...Luke

Lee Majors...John Majors

Touchstone Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment present a Donners' production, a Barber/Birnbaum production, released by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. Director The Malloys. Producer Lee R. Mayes, Michael Aguilar, Jonathan Glickman. Screenplay by Jon Zack. Cinematographer Richard Crudo. Editor Jeffrey Wolf. Costume designer Carla Hetland. Music Michael Andrews. Production designer Michael Bolton. Art director James Steuart. Set decorator Louise Roper. Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.


In general release.

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