Thursday, 17 March 2011

[447] Chalet Girl (2011) Review

...and March started so well!

Coming soon: the new short film (which is currently in post-production), and at least a couple of podcasts. In the meantime, here's a thoroughly unimpressed review of a film that isn't at all aimed at me.

While we're all getting into a patriotic froth over The King's Speech, and the hefty sum granted to its production by the soon to be defunct UK Film Council, perhaps it's best to see where else its money is going.

Out this week is
Chalet Girl, a British comedy that was boosted by a £800,000 stimulus from the UKFC. Like Tom Hooper's awards-winner, it is fiercely British, and casts its gaze over one of the nation's pet obsessions, class.

Bright young thing Felicity Jones stars as Kim, a grungy teen whose promising career as a professional skateboarder is put on hold after the untimely death of her mother. Stuck in a dead-end job, at Chicken Cottage, no less, Kim must scrounge in order to support her grieving father (Bill Bailey), and puts her name forward for a plush catering job in the Alps, living with an upper class family for the summer. While navigating from one faux pas to another, the working class girl develops a rapport with posh dreamboat, Jonny (Ed Westwick), and spots a potential way to change her life completely, by competing in an international snowboarding event.

The script, penned by newcomer, Tom Williams, tries incredibly hard to please, stuffing every scene with sight gags, cheap gags, physical gags, broadly caricatured characters and plenty of fish out of water gags. Few hit home, but thanks to a pleasant cast, it isn't entirely offensive. Bill Nighy provides his salary's worth as Jonny's quirky, feline father, while Tamsin Egerton, as Kim's colleague, Georgie, manages to maintain something of a comic composure while delivering god-awful jokes about Facebook.

Felicity Jones is an absolutely delightful screen presence, even if her natural, pretty charm isn't an easy fit for Kim's supposedly uncouth, tomboyish personality. On a basic level, the character seems to have been misconceived, with her snarky, sarcastic witticisms being as overwritten as her cluelessness in the face of upper class life is unconvincing. That said, she nevertheless stands out among most young female leads by having a passion that isn't simply the pursuit of romance. Even if her skill is never doubted and her mastery of snowboarding is remarkably breezy (a short montage should do the trick), her desire to win challenges the usual gender stereotypes for such cinematic fluff.

Read the full article here.

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