Chalet Girl

Movie review by EDF

Starring: Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Tamsin Egerton, Ken Duken, Sophia Bush
Director: Phil Traill

Kim Matthews (Felicity Jones) had it all. As a young skateboarding prodigy, she won all competitions and was poised to take things to the next level on the international stage. Then she disappeared from public view and no one knew what happened to her. The story picks up two years later and we find Kim is working at a fast food restaurant. It turns out that her mother had died in a car crash when they were all driving back from the regional finals. Kim has not gone on a skateboard since the accident, instead she is supporting her depressed father Bill (Bill Bailey). Needing extra money to pay the mounting bills, Kim registers with a catering agency that will be hiring chalet girls to cook and clean for rich clients with chalets in the ski resort of St. Anton. Somehow, Kim gets the job and is sent out to one of the chalets for four months.

Meeting Kim at St Anton station is experienced chalet girl Georgie (Tamsin Egerton) who is less than thrilled to have someone common to be her new roommate. Georgie gives Kim a quick run down of what to do; Kim will be the back room girl and Georgie is the one out front that the Madsen family will see. They meet the Madsen family just as they are landing in their private jet. There is Richard (Bill Nighy), his sharp-tongued wife Caroline (Brooke Shields), their son Jonny (Ed Westwick) with his girlfriend Chloe (Sophia Bush) and her brother Nigel (Nicholas Braun). Immediately, Georgie spots a twinkle in Kim’s eye from the second she laid eyes on Jonny.

The Madsen’s find Kim to be a little odd but seem to like her. As the family spends the next day on the slopes, Kim ends up with some spare time on her hands. She finds an old snowboard in the boot room and heads off to the slopes. Compared to a skateboard, Kim is surprised by how difficult it is to get on a snowboard. She comes across Mikki (Ken Duken) a crazy Finnish snowboarder, who shows her how it is done properly. Thanks to her skateboarding past, Kim picks it up quickly. Spotting a poster for a professional snowboarding competition with the sort of prize money that would help her dad out with the bills, Kim knows she must enter the competition. Knowing that she must overcome her mother’s death to complete the competition; will Kim be able to dig deep and make it through to the finals? Will her obvious attraction to Jonny distract Kim from her goal? Will Kim ever be able to become friends with Georgie?

While this is an enjoyable comedy romp and a feel good movie, the comedy itself is a bit uneven and at times predictable. Bill Bailey steals every scene he is in and there is a sort of anticipation for when he next appears as you can at least be guaranteed a chuckle. It is not to say that the other actors are not funny. The main problem is the script where you can, for the most part, guess what is going to happen next. Does Kim get her man and win the competition? What do you think?

While snowboarding in the real life location of St. Anton is a very picturesque backdrop, the camerawork is actually very ordinary. You feel like a spectator watching the snowboarding scenes more than a moviegoer who should feel every twist, turn and jump whenever Kim is on her snowboard. This is a shame because by the end of the movie, you feel a more than little under whelmed by it. The upside to this is that just as the end credits start to role, there are outtakes and the cast singing along to Kim Wilde’s Chequered Love and having a fun time. Now, isn’t that what this movie is supposed to be all about?

3 out of 6 stars