Chalet Girl
dir Phil Traill
scr Tom Williams
prd Wolfgang Behr, Pippa Cross, Dietmar Guntsche, Harriet Rees
with Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Tamsin Egerton, Ken Duken, Bill Nighy, Bill Bailey, Brooke Shields, Sophia Bush, Nicholas Braun, Gregor Bloeb, Adam Bousdoukos, Tara Dakides
release UK 16.Mar.11
11/UK 1h36
Chalet Girl
Going off-piste: Westwick and Jones

nighy shields bailey
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Chalet Girl With virtually the same plot as Pretty Woman (minus the prostitution), this bright and enjoyable rom-com wins us over without challenging us at all. A sharp cast, a gorgeous setting and lively filmmaking make up for the thin plot.

At 19, Kim (Jones) has retired from her promising career as a pro-skateboarder, due to her mother's death in a car crash. Working tedious jobs to care for her unemployed dad (Bailey), she jumps at the chance to earn more money in a posh ski chalet in Austria for four months. Working alongside experienced chalet girl Georgie (Egerton), she makes two discoveries: first the wealthy owners (Nighy and Shields) arrive with their gorgeous son Jonny (Westwick), and then a Finnish guy (Duken) introduces her to snowboarding.

No prizes for guessing where this story goes. Jonny may be engaged to a rich American (Bush), but he clearly has eyes for Kim. And then there's the snowboarding competition at the end of the season, just in time to wrap up the plot's loose ends. In other words, there's never the slightest bit of suspense, and yet the cast is charming enough to make us ignore the clanking formula. And the script is packed with snappy oneliners that keep us laughing.

The sparky Jones actually manages to upstage Nighy, which is no mean feat, while convincing us as both a skilled athlete and a girl who might capture a rich, attached hunk. Her chemistry with Westwick is believably hesitant, as is the interaction with his parents, fiancee and her dorky brother (Braun). Everyone gets the chance to steal a scene or two, and even though some characters are self-absorbed or stupid, everyone's likeable.

Meanwhile, director Traill makes the most of the spectacular mountain scenery, as well as apres-ski life in both the massive chalet and the energetic bars. In other words, it's not easy to watch this film without wanting to hit the slopes yourself. And if people in ski resorts this much fun, and as interested in finding true love (at least for a day or two), applications for chalet girls will probably skyrocket because of this film. Even if it's obviously pure fiction.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 7.Mar.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall