Hot Dog… The Movie and its disreputable ski-comedy ilk might have been a low point in cinema history, but at least their unbridled crassness had energy; Chalet Girl embraces similar ‘80s tropes for a lethargic you-go-girl fairy tale. When English tomboy Kim (Felicity Jones) takes a job working at a wealthy family’s Austrian Alps getaway, so she can support her single dad, she’s mocked by her bitchy blonde colleague (Tamsin Egerton) and discovers that her once-celebrated skateboarding skills translate quite nicely to snowboarding. Phil Traill’s film introduces class divisions and culture-clash tensions only to immediately pull its punches, having Kim overcome one adversity after another with almost supernatural ease. Romance between working-class Kim and princely employer Jonny (Ed Westwick) is—despite his engagement to Chloe (Sophia Bush) and the disapproval of his mother (Brooke Shields)—as predictable as the many training-to-triumph montages and the climactic snowboarding competition, all of it formulaic pap treated with enervating earnestness. Jones is a passably plucky heroine, but from Kim’s efforts to overcome the trauma of her mom’s death to her accidentally falling on top of Jonny on the slopes, Chalet Girl is just a compendium of genre clichés—minus the usual racism and t&a.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 12, 2011