Magazine article The Spectator

Downhill All the Way

Magazine article The Spectator

Downhill All the Way

Article excerpt

Chalet Girl

12A, Nationwide

Route Irish

15, Nationwide

What the world needs now, perhaps as a matter of some urgency, is love, sweet love, but, failing that, wouldn't a decent, warm, engaging rom-com do? It might but, alas, it isn't Chalet Girl. I'd like it to be Chalet Girl.

I wanted it to be Chalet Girl. It's got two excellent Bills in it - Nighy and Bailey - which made me hopeful, initially. But? OK, because I don't know how to let you down gently on this (I bunked off the how-to-letyou-down-gently classes at school; it was the 'citizenship' of its day and none of us took it seriously) I'm going to let you down hard, like this: Chalet Girl is banal, witless, slushy, laboured and dull.

You may think I could not have let you down harder if I'd tried but, actually, I could.

I could have added that it adds up to nothing more than a series of predictable set pieces, lame jokes and snowy pratfalls, but at least I had the good grace to pull back from that.

You'd think, at least, that there would be some attempt to make the set-up credible, but even this isn't so. Felicity Jones stars as Kim, a poor, working-class girl and although Ms Jones seems sweetness itself, and I can see she might be most engaging in other circumstances, poor and working class?

She talks, looks and carries herself as if she attended Roedean. They might as well have cast Jemima Khan and had done with it.

Anyway, Kim, who was a champion skateboarder until a family tragedy put an end to it - oops- now works in a deadend fast-food job while trying to support her depressed father (Bailey, who just mooches about, in a depressed kind of way). But then, via a storyline that is, needless to say, dumb, she secures four months' work as a chalet girl for a rich family who have a home in the Austrian Alps. The family is headed by a rich banker (Nighy; proper class, but too little too late) who has a trophy wife (Brooke Shields; interesting casting but she has only about four lines) and a son.

The son is Jonny, played by Ed Westwick who is always billed as 'Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl'. What is Gossip Girl? A pop band? A TV show? I don't know, and I can't be bothered to Google it, but whatever it is he should go back to it. …

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