'out cold' - the reviews

Pick your review...
Entertainment Weekly
Calendar Live
The Fresno Bee
FilmQuips Online
Man-in-the-street

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY - Movie Review by Bruce Fretts
Targeted as a Thanksgiving moviegoing diversion for teenagers who think ''Harry Potter'' is, like, too babyish, Out Cold attempts to graft two genres: skin flicks and ski flicks. First-time filmmakers Brendan and Emmett Malloy take the formula from another comedy directed by brothers, Chris and Paul Weitz's ''American Pie,'' and transport it to Alaska, packing snowboarding footage between the gross-out gags. The result is so derivative, they should've called it ''Eskimo Pie.''

Instead of baked goods, the young rowdies who work at the Bull Mountain slopes (led by ''Dazed and Confused'''s Jason London) engage in sex acts with a polar bear and a hot-tub drain. For the record, they also blow slo-mo snot rockets, chug bong water, and defecate in a drug-test cup. How this swill earned a PG-13 is a question only God and Jack Valenti can answer.

The Malloys, as they're billed, bring a raucous energy to the early scenes of debauchery, like a ''King of the Mountain'' contest in which the 'boarder with the most beer left in his mug at the bottom of the run wins. Yet their zippy pacing can't save the listless script by Jon Zack, whose idea of a witty running joke is to have a developer (ex–Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors, who must've earned a lot less for this gig) repeatedly address the resort's wimpy owner (''Sex and the City'''s Willie Garson) as
''Retard.'' The screenplay's references to ''Fight Club,'' ''Casablanca,'' and ''Gladiator'' don't make it seem any smarter.

But who really cares when 1997 Playmate of the Year Victoria Silvstedt (as Majors' stepdaughter) rides a mechanical bull while wearing a low-cut top? You won't hear too many adolescent boys in the audience complaining. For anybody who's past puberty, however, ''Out Cold'' is about as arousing as an icy shower. D

CALENDAR LIVE on latimes.com -  Review by JAN STUART
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.

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.

THE FRESNO BEE - Review by Rick Bentley
"Out Cold" never tries to be anything more than a super-silly film packed with the kind of jokes that make teen-age boys laugh until they cry. All of the classic immature comedy elements are in this movie: shots to the crotch, absurd sexual dreams and more naked rear ends than an "NYPD Blue"
marathon.

Moronic moviemaking isn't necessarily wrong. In fact, that film style, a mix of childish sexuality and juvenile humor played against a hot soundtrack, reached a peak in the 1960s with those sun-and-sand romps starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. The formula continued in later decades with such productions as "Hardbodies," "Porky's," "The Bikini Carwash Company" and "Hot Dog: The Movie."

None of those movies will ever be mentioned alongside great movies like "American Beauty" or
"Citizen Kane." But movies like "Out Cold" have all seen box-office success and have a certain
following.

"Out Cold" focuses on a group of misfits -- in this case, snowboarding instructors. Their leader is
Rick (Jason London), a hot-shot snowboarder who is suffering from a broken heart. Rick's emotional
wounds only deepen when he finds out his lost true love is the daughter of the business tycoon (Lee
Majors) who wants to turn their quaint Alaskan ski village into a yuppie paradise.

So much for any attempt at a plot.

More effort is put into the flash and fun that drives the effort. The movie is a collection of panoramic shots of snowboarders zipping down the sides of mountains interrupted only long enough for the next bit of bathroom humor. Both elements are established in the opening moments through a race in which
the snowboarders attempt to reach the bottom of the hill as quickly as possible while carrying mugs of beer. Whoever has the most beer remaining wins.

Directors Brendan and Emmet Malloy (former music video directors) take no chances with any serious filmmaking elements like character development that might distract from the slapstick comedy. The directors prefer to stick to scenes full of jokes based on excessive substance abuse, bodily functions and the reduction of women to what lies between their navels and their necks.

The key to what makes "Out Cold" work is the directors do this childish humor well. One character's habit of passing out after binge drinking sets up several funny moments, including a faked auto accident. The bodily function jokes hit almost "Animal House" level. For example, the door to the men's room of the local bar leads out to the snow. And the directors count on the 1993 Miss Sweden and 1997 Playboy Playmate of the Year Victoria Silvstedt to be the focus of all the juvenile ogling.

"Out Cold" stays exclusively on a simple and silly course except for one detour. There are several references -- the lead character's name and an emotional farewell at an airplane, for example -- to the classic film "Casablanca" that seem out of whack for the movie's target audience, a generation that grew up shunning black-and-white movies.

The Malloys should have stayed focused on scenes that were more reminiscent of other movies in the same genre. One example of when they did stick to the film's intent is a "Porky's"-like scene that includes an embarrassing incident involving a hot tub.

"Out Cold" is destined to live on as a constant of late-night cable film. It's the kind of movie that seems to be best shown after an episode of "Red Shoe Diaries." And the later in the night it airs, the funnier it is going to be.

FILMQUIPS ONLINE - Review by John R. McEwen
Out Cold serves as both the freshman effort of writer Jon Zack and the debut project of co-directors Brendan and Emmett Malloy; my personal opinion is that it is the result of a bunch of drunk snowboarders who got ahold of a camera. Surprisingly, though, despite the fact that the film is obviously little more than a vehicle to show off the truly amazing (actually I think the word is "AWESOME!") snowboarding talent by people who may or may not be the actual actors in the film, it is quite funny at times. While Tomcats attempted, with pathetic results, to raise "boys will be boys" humor to feature film level, this one is more successful, with silly antics and amusing characterizations by a bunch of virtually unknown actors.

Attempting to add gravity to the film with a retread (snowtread?) of the Casablanca story line, our lead character is Rick (Jason London), the all-around nice guy who is known to all his friends who work at the remote and rustic Bull Mountain ski resort, Alaska, as the "king of the mountain." And even though Rick enjoys the friendship and respect of his beer guzzling/snowboarding pals Luke (Zach Galifianakis), "Pigpen" (Derek Hamilton), Anthony (Flex Alexander), Lance (David Denman), and even resident hottie Jenny (A.J. Cook), who makes no secret about her desire to go out with him, Rick can't forget the girl who broke his heart, Anna. After meeting and falling deeply in love, the couple spent a few weeks together until Anna inexplicably disappeared.

But Rick's heartsick problems soon pale in comparison to the trouble brewing in town when wealthy and arrogant developer John Majors (Lee Majors of Six Million Dollar/Fall Guy fame) decides to buy the resort from its weaselly current owner (Willie Garson) and transform it into a high-profile, multi-million-dollar, latté-serving playground for the rich and famous, as the newest addition to his chain of "Major Resorts." While this change will surely attract untold numbers of fabulous chicks to the
resort, including Majors's own Swedish stepdaughter Inga (Victoria Silvstedt), a blonde bombshell who makes all the guys drool, it also means that all resort staffers have to wear stupid looking uniforms and cowtow to Majors, who has decided to change the name of Bull Mountain to "Snownook." The real bombshell comes, however, when the town is visited by Rick's old flame Anna (Caroline Dhavernas), who turns out to be 1) engaged to be married and 2) Majors's other daughter.

While the Casablanca-esque love story (which includes lines from and other overt references to the classic film) does more to induce nausea than any other emotion, Out Cold has its moments, primarly those populated by Galifianakis, whose affable characterization of Luke is almost as amusing as Jack Black in High Fidelity. Then there are the wacky antics of Saturday Night Live alum David Koechner, playing a sort of narrator/town loony, whose skewed monologues and affected physical mannerisms will remind SNL fans of his amusing "T-Bone" character. Finally, interspersed with the prank-playing and various silliness of the gang is the kind of spectacular snowboarding footage you'd see in a Mountain Dew commercial, shot at the Apex ski resort in British Columbia. Numerous out-takes featuring bone-crushing flubs of these scenes are featured during the end credits.

There's no question that the creative team behind this film is still wet behind the snowsuit, but although its main plot is a disposable low-rent ripoff and its leading players generally bland and undistinguished, there are some truly amusing supporting characters which make it at least worth seeing when it arrives on video. **½

Man-in-the-street Reviews
Ray - I liked the film. I found it entertaining and the performance of Jason London made my experience worthwhile.

Jules - I  agree it was quite funny, and some of the snowboard were cool. You got to see this with a group of friends or you need to laugh!

Michaelyn - I saw Out Cold last night. And I am past pueberty. The movie ROCKED!! I
was laughing the whole time. I'm sorry if you movie reviewers are only interested in the lame Harry Potter. Out Cold kept me laughing the whole time that I watched it. I'm way past pueberty and I would much rather watch a king of the mountain scene and some guy getting his thing stuck in
the hot tub. Just thought that I would let you know that you people were wrong. thank, have a great day...not really.