“Out Cold” — A boring snowboarding comedy

Out Cold

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
November 21, 2001

1.5 stars

What could have been a cute comedy is hidden way, way below the surface of “Out Cold.” Just as the film teases its teen audience with the promise of almost but not-quite-there female nudity, this PG-13 movie dances with the possibility of being engaging. But a recurring cruel streak and a cliched, boring script that clumsily attempts to parody “Fight Club” and “Casablanca” trips up the fun.

The film revolves around some loser friends whose raison d’etre is to drink and snowboard on their beloved Alaskan Bull Mountain. They talk a lot about women but, truth be told, would chose a good ride down the mountain over a meaningful relationship with a hottie any day. Which is why they’re with each other making flatulence jokes and anonymously surfing lesbian chat rooms.

When Rick (Jason London) comes home from vacation in love with a beautiful French woman who mysteriously dumped him, he is unable (or unwilling) to forget her. After all, they had spent a whole three weeks together. In slacker years, that’s a lifetime.

Never mind that the cute, spunky blond girl everyone else is in love with is not-so-secretly in like with him. We all know from Bad Films 101 that Rick has to work out his non-relationship first before he can see what’s right before his glassy eyes. And it’s not every woman who not only would encourage her man to snowboard drunk at night to win the title of “King of the Mountain” but also participate in the race herself.

Bull Mountain is about to be sold to a greedy developer from Colorado whose Hummer license plate reads SNOWBIZZ. This means the guys won’t be able to keep their jobs doing nothing at the lodge.

Faced with the prospect of having to turn in an honest day’s work, the boys unite to preserve their mountain and lifestyle.

They still manage to partake in shenanigans. One is particularly prone to passing out drunk and, when he does, his friends leave him partially undressed in the snow, basted in salt to lure a polar bear to, um, lick his naughty bits.

The X-Games-style snowboard action is impressive and thrilling. And there are some funny moments, such as when the same hapless dork is tricked into thinking he’s driving a truck about to careen off the road. But most of the humor is of the toilet variety.

The likable London has turned in fine performances in “The Man in the Moon” and “Dazed and Confused.”  But his intelligence, charisma and empathy are wasted on a role that could have been handled by any kid from the WB.


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