Snow Day

[Note: I wrote this review while employed at Paramount Pictures.]

A movie starring Chevy Chase, Chris Elliott, and a bunch of obnoxious kids. Why even watch this film, much less review it? You may well ask. Answer: It's a Paramount product, I'm a Paramount employee, so I got to see it for free at work. Besides, I always say that every filmmaker should catch at least a couple films each year that he knows will be bad, in order to work out his creative muscles afterward and ask himself, "how could I have made this any better?"

Snow Day, however, isn't exactly a bad film. It's just a waste of time. A joyless, formulaic yawner thrown together by a film team bereft of talent or inspiration. Does that make it a bad film? Okay, maybe it does.

The plot, as if it mattered: a big snowfall in Syracuse, NY has closed schools down for the day. We focus on one family: weatherman dad (Chase), who don't get no respect; overworked mom (Jean Smart), who has no time for her family; romantic teen (a likeable Mark Webber), who woos some hot chick in his school while remaining unaware of the affections of his own best friend (Schuyler Fisk, Sissy Spacek's daughter, gap-toothed but appealing); and finally a really horrible, strident little girl (Zena Grey) who, with her obnoxious friends (including a fat kid who farts in every scene and has to shout out lines like "Man oh man of La Mancha!"), tries to thwart the local snow plow driver (Elliott) from clearing the streets, so they can get another snow day.

Guess what happens? That's right - everything works out in the end.

Usually a film made by people who don't know what they're doing has some weird treats. In the case of Snow Day, you have a scene with a stop-motion (not computer!) animated action figure, a fleetingly amusing cameo by Iggy Pop, and that teenage boy's crush, who'd better be 18 because her nipples poke out of her outfits in every scene she's in.

I will give Snow Day points for having strong, confident female characters. But I must reiterate: it really is a worthless film.