I was not as enamored with the 2014 Swedish film Force Majeure as many critics were, so I hoped that its American remake, Downhill, might be more appealing. However, Downhill sadly does not improve upon Force Majeure.
In directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's film, Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play a married couple vacationing at an Alpine ski resort with their two sons. During a controlled avalanche that briefly gets scary, Ferrell runs away while his family cowers at their table. Louis-Dreyfus and the sons quietly resent Ferrell for it, and he tries to act like it was no big deal.
At 86 minutes (including ending credits), Downhill still manages to seem padded. It feels like there could have been a good 30-minute short film from its basic premise (I felt the same way about the considerably longer original, too), but not enough to sustain a feature film. There is one excellent scene where Louis-Dreyfus finally calls out Ferrell while they eat dinner with another couple. But aside from a few scattershot laughs, the surrounding scenes aren't funny enough to work as a comedy and aren't raw enough to work as a domestic drama.