Downhill: Moments of authenticity in a hollow comedy

Downhill (3)

Downhill is a somewhat uncomfortable watch with two of cinemas most flamboyant comedians trapped in a script that fails to channel the depth and skill they’re known for. While there are attempts and successful moments of hilarity, this Dramedy leans more to the drama but surprisingly delivers honest truths that will resonate with the relationships or marriages we are in.

Downhill (5)

Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Pete (Will Ferrell) are on vacation with their two children and when faced with a life threatening moment, Pete flees in panic potentially leaving his family to die.

Downhill (6)

It turns out the avalanche wasn’t fatal and merely passes the restaurant cabin they are in. This event sets the underlying foundation of conflict through unspoken moments, expressions of hurt and internalised disappointment a long term couple would feel or react to when faced with a similar situation.

Downhill (1)

For a fleeting moment we are given an answer to Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver’s impeccable storytelling in Marriage Story before the film itself feels like it’s also on a weak layered fracture of snow physically taking the form of the film’s title.
Dreyfus and Ferrell play the vulnerability and emotional detriment of their relationship spectacularly, but they are hugely let down by the hollow comedy of the script.  It does little to extract the goldmine of the setup and fails to peel back layers on their characters or channel the duo’s sound acting ability.

Downhill (4)

The supporting characters were two dimensional platitudes serving minimal purpose in propelling the story forward.  Unnecessary reflief through mindless antics.  The resolution is murky reversing the strong foundation Ferrell and Dreyfus build in the first act.  There’s enough meat in this to make it worthy of a watch.

Photography: Rich Polk / © 2020 Getty Images,
Fox Entertainment Group


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