“And I looked, and behold, pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him.” Yay, for I have now stared into the vast ether of the universe and for the first time, I truly comprehended just how alone we all are. The folly of man is knowing we have the ability without ever contemplating if we have the moral right to do so. Find comfort in your loved ones and make peace with your God, for I have found purpose, once again. This purpose: a cleansing. To rid humanity of the worst of our creations in a storm of nuclear hellfire straight from the bowels of a dying star. If you find yourself wondering what could possibly draw such ire, look no further than the profound insult to life everywhere that is the movie “Downhill”.
On President’s Day, my mother wanted to spend her day off seeing a “light-hearted comedy” with her loving son. Naively, I suggested we see “Downhill” because I thought that a film starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus would at least be worth a few decent laughs. What a fool I was… It was never my intention to review this film since it was supposed to be mindless fun while I spent time with my mother, but “Downhill” wandered onto the tracks as the train was coming through and, I, as the errant locomotive, will make it pay dearly for its lack of vision.
In what can only be generously described as the plot of this blight, Pete (Will Ferrell) and Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) are a married couple on a ski vacation in the Alps, when there is an avalanche and Pete runs to protect his phone rather than his family. The rest of the film is about 80 minutes of unspoken hatred for life, marriage, family, and getting older. I now see that nothing matters. Even if love is genuine, those you love will let you down when you need them most, they will not learn from their mistakes, and you will be trapped in a failing relationship that will always be more than you deserve but less than you want. Not exactly the “light-hearted comedy” we were searching for.
The corrupted sense of nihilism aside, there are absolutely no redeeming moments of this film. Zero. Zip. Zilch. This film was physically painful to endure from the very first moment of them awkwardly trying to take a family photo all the way until those end credits mercifully released us from our chains. I cannot recall any real attempt at humor or catharsis for anyone viewing to latch onto and try to get behind. You can’t laugh or smile or even learn from the characters’ mistakes. There is just nothing positive to take away from this experience. I wish there were some examples of events that I could discuss but none exist. It is just a feature-length film of complaints with no resolution. It is a slow and painful death.
If I was not with my mother, I would have walked out of the theater, got in my car, and just drive as far away from the theater as humanly possible. I take this film’s existence as personal insult, so here are some things I would rather do than ever have to see this movie again: get a colonoscopy with poorly sanitized medical equipment; pass 3 kidney stones; eat a pinecone; step on all my collection of LEGO Star Wars ships with my bare feet; cheer for the Patriots for one down in an NFL game. And those are just the few examples I could think of while I furiously thwack at my keyboard with a barrage of misplaced rage. This film is a commodity of nefarious intent. It is my professional evaluation that this film is the cause of all the wars in the world and why we will be forced to aimlessly wander in the darkness of the void until our waning days.
This movie earns a 1.0 out of 10. May the next life be more merciful to it than I was.
Directed by: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Zach Woods, Zoe Chao
Runtime: 1 Hour and 26 Minutes