Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reno and the Doc

(Charles Dennis, 1984)
Travelling shyster Henry Ramer discovers a peculiarly sporadic psychic connection with ski-wizard mountain man Kenneth Welsh, and with the help of humorously oral-dyslexic Linda Griffiths they seek to take the world skiing championship title from German blowhard Gunther Schloss. Sounds moronic, right? Well, I must report that instead of flailing about as you’d expect, the three leads go for a very calm deadpan, actually recalling the best shaggy-dog American comedies of the 70s, and their work is certainly more endearing than you expect from an 80s ski movie. But what the fuck are they doing in an 80s ski movie? Whenever they start to get some mild mileage out of their doggedly quirky interactions, out trot the ski montages, with the America tributes on the soundtrack and those idiot announcers droning away. Anything designed to impose a narrative on the scenario further poisons the well. Makes you wonder whether the actors took over the set and demanded all those eccentric little touches, which are the only things that make the movie almost, but not quite, watchable. Complicating things further: the Kukamungas.

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