x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Energy and charm lift up predictable Chalet Girl

Giving a sassy spin on the Cinderella formula, the film has an abundance of charm, even if it offers little in the way of surprises.

Felicity Jones, left, in Chalet Girl. Courtesy Paramount / Everett Collection
Felicity Jones, left, in Chalet Girl. Courtesy Paramount / Everett Collection

Director: Phil Traill
Starring: Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Bill Nighy, Brooke Shields
***

The rising star Felicity Jones gets her first lead in this romantic British comedy. She plays Kim, a former skateboarder who takes a job at a ski resort and is thrust into a world of wealth and decadence. At first overwhelmed, tomboy Kim soon holds her own. A new-found love for snowboarding sees her excel at the resort's competition, but first she must overcome a dark moment from her past. At first glance, Chalet Girl seems like the worst kind of superficial teenage fluff.

Yet, as the snowbound antics progress, there's an energy and uplifting sentiment to the film that makes it far more entertaining than you might expect. Giving a sassy spin on the Cinderella formula, the film has an abundance of charm, even if it offers little in the way of surprises. Jones deserves credit for creating a loveable protagonist, and although the same can't be said for her love interest Johnny (Westwick, who is little more than a walking smirk for most of the film), you begin to cheer for her as she clashes with the upper crust. The always reliable Nighy and Shields also appear in hilarious supporting roles as Johnny's rich parents. Unashamedly aiming at a teenage audience, the film's lack of pretension is oddly refreshing and eases you through low points, in particular the rather limp and saccharine finale. Jones proves she can carry a movie, and one would imagine given the right scripts, her star will continue to rise.