Chalet Girl

Film, Comedy
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(11user reviews)
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This loud, silly and surprisingly fun British comedy would be tough to bear without Felicity Jones or Bill Nighy and their easy-going charm and shoulder-shrugging approach to the wonky material in their hands. As it is, ‘Chalet Girl’ works well as the sort of throwaway, mainstream British farce rarely seen on our screens. Jones gamely plays against type as Kim, a teen server in a fast-food joint who lives with her unemployed father (Bill Bailey) and takes a job as a hostess – or chalet girl – at an upscale Austrian skiing resort to pay the bills.

Once on the slopes, she’s launched into a world of privileged lunacy, a magnified version of the King’s Road at 5,000 feet. Only Kim has a secret tool in her box: she used to be a skateboarding champion until her mum’s death – cueing the film’s biggest bum note – threw her life off balance. Will she rediscover her talent and show the poshos what for? Or will she fall for chinless wonder Jonny (Ed Westwick of ‘Gossip Girl’), son of her employers and bait for teen girls in the audience?

Corny and proud of it, ‘Chalet Girl’ has no pretensions beyond inspiring laughs and gathering empathy for an endearing central character. It pulls it off by balancing wild characters and wilder events with a down-to-earth approach to Kim driven by Jones’s grounded and likeable performance. The dialogue is more sensible than the plotting, allowing us to forgive the film’s more serious trespasses. And who can resist the sight of Nighy, as Kim’s wealthy employer, strutting his stuff from a private jet with Brooke Shields on his arm?

By: Dave Calhoun

Posted:

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday March 18 2011
Duration:
97 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Phil Traill
Cast:
Bill Nighy
Brooke Shields
Tamsin Egerton
Bill Bailey
Felicity Jones

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|11
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Tastemaker

There’s something rare and rather satisfying about finding a rom-com on TV that you’ve never seen before. Something sweet & gently amusing that you can vegetate on the sofa in front of on a Sunday afternoon and this is exactly what you should expect of and what you should do with ‘Chalet Girl’. Although I’d heard of it before I was never a ‘Gossip Girl’ aficionado so was fairly unaware of Ed Westwick and quite honestly, pre-the last 5 years, I was pretty unaware of Felicity Jones too – fact of the matter is though that they’re both excellent in this non-cerebrally challenging-but-super-lovely movie. Jones in particular delivers some killer one-liners in that most charming of clipped, firm, funny, Mary Poppins-meets-Super Nanny British ways that makes us so beloved when we travel.


The story is pretty standard but set against a nicely out-of-the-ordinary backdrop of mountains, ski-slopes, snowboarding contests and that titular chalet. Jones turns up as the new help in a holiday home owned by Westwick’s dad, the always splendid Bill Nighy, and must do battle against a snobby colleague (who turns out to have a heart of gold obviously), some vulgar Americans (who get their comeuppance obviously) and her own personal demons (who don’t hold her back from achieving her dreams obviously).


Funny? Yes. There are some great scenes at the beginning when Jones’ shortcomings as a member of the upper classes are pointed out to her and the supporting cast blossom as the film builds to its snowy climax, especially her culinarily challenged father and her superbly platonic snowboarding mentor. 


Moving? Yes. Jones is one of the best actresses working today and, with a script that’s thankfully short on the same old tripe that’s always wheeled out for these films, manages to be thoroughly engaging, garnering both our sympathy and our fist-pumping-at-the-tv support.


Believable? Well, frankly, we don’t dip into rom-com universe for an in-depth look at the society in which we live do we? We want to escape for a few hours into a world where plain Jane ducklings become belle-of-the-ball swans, where shy foxes become confident coyotes, where Matthew McConnaughey can’t find love until he meets, well, whichever blonde happens to be around at the particular moment. 


Don’t settle down to watch this with the expectation that a critical masterpiece is about to unfold but do don your pj’s, scoff some Galaxy and enjoy a film that’s now firmly ensconced in my rom-com hall of fame.


At the end of the movie, the behind the scenes show how much fun the actors seem to be having while filming. I can easily compare it to the happiness I get while watching. Plus I don't get the complaints in this movie. It's a feel-good one, why deprive yourself of the happy ambiance the movie is providing. I don't get it. Anyway it's worth it


Posted on Apr 01 2011 09:30 Lovely film and good fun - and couldn't we do with some of that at the moment? It's not going to win any oscars but it really is great escapism, predictable plot with fabulous scenery and some laugh-out loud moments. Felicity Jones is really likeable and it's one of those films you just have to be swept away with, park your cynicism at the door and enjoy. I even shed a tear as with Mother's Day approaching it made me really empathise with the character who has lost her mother, so poignancy too... But you root for our plucky heroine and leave the cinema with a big smile on your face!


Even the stuttering buffoon Bill Nighy couldnt spoil this little gem. Felicity Jones has a easy on the eye comedic charm which is quite delightful. This young girl is going places. Billy Bailey is woeful miscast as her dad but he's only got a small part ... and a big plate of beans. If it's bright and breezy fun you want ... look no further.


I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago in a local cinema (yes, sometimes we do get to see some movies over here on the continent first or at least before they are shown in the UK!). I went mainly because I was impressed by Miss Felicity Jones' performance in Northanger Abbey (shown on Dutch National Television quite some time ago) and quite enjoyed this movie. The snowboarding scenes in the snow in Tirol were quite well done as well. Worth a visit as far as I am concerned.


I wanted to hate this, I really did. I’m on the sharp end of a divorce so going into a romantic comedy for me, well it’s like a vegan booking an abattoir weekend. I was strong-armed into a preview show under the notion that it was Cinderella on a Snowboard and to a certain extent this is correct, Kim (Felicity Jones) is a downtrodden burger-queen-teen with zero prospects trapped in a co-dependent rut with her culinary incompetent dad (Bill Bailey) and nursing grief for her mother - who died in a car crash. That’s not a spoiler – BTW – as you get it as back-story with the opening credits. In a series of unlikely twists Kim lands a job as a Chalet Girl with super-rich family in beautiful Austria, enter Prince Charming (lush Ed Westwick) who is – horror show – engaged to somebody he like – so completely – doesn’t love. While romance runs its rollercoaster course Kim learns to snowboard and finds she’s gifted – well to a point – because the psychological scaring of her mum’s death holds her back from winning the local boarding trophy – and a very useful cash prize. While the set-up is pure Cinderella the execution is all Rocky. As Kim was fighting the odds I found myself rooting for her: when she crashed in the snow I felt her pain and when she got up and faced her demons I felt her determination, god I even cried at one point – in a quiet manly way. There are plenty of clichés: a Step Mother who turns out to be Evil (in a mild way) and a Tart who – guess what – grows a Heart, but despite all of that I just found myself going along with it. No, not just going along with it, but loving it. The success is partly down to a script that punches well above its weight: the sharp banter runs like this: Posh Richard (Bill Nighy): [pointing at a helicopter] You ever been in one of these things? Kim: [impressed but ultra-cool] Yeah, we have one at home. This one's pretty small actually. Posh Richard: Do we pay extra for irony? Kim: No, the irony's free, it's the sarcasm you're paying for. Ironically... But the success is mostly down to Felicity Jones - she’s hardly off screen and start-to-finish she oozes a hypnotic charm that wraps itself around you from go. Then there’s the scenery too. The snow and chalet scenes are shot in Austria, in particular St Anton where ‘The Museum’ is used for exterior shots of the posh chalet – well, they are stunning. Between the location, Felicity and even (strangely enough) Ed Westwick I left the cinema with my love for humanity and indeed the world in much better shape than when I went in. I’m still being divorced of course, but after the film I feel slightly better about the process.


I wanted to hate this, I really did. I’m on the sharp end of a divorce so going into a romantic comedy for me, well it’s like a vegan booking an abattoir weekend. I was strong-armed into a preview show under the notion that it was Cinderella on a Snowboard and to a certain extent this is correct, Kim (Felicity Jones) is a downtrodden burger-queen-teen with zero prospects trapped in a co-dependent rut with her culinary incompetent dad (Bill Bailey) and nursing grief for her mother - who died in a car crash. That’s not a spoiler – BTW – as you get it as back-story with the opening credits. In a series of unlikely twists Kim lands a job as a Chalet Girl with super-rich family in beautiful Austria, enter Prince Charming (lush Ed Westwick) who is – horror show – engaged to somebody he like – so completely – doesn’t love. While romance runs its rollercoaster course Kim learns to snowboard and finds she’s gifted – well to a point – because the psychological scaring of her mum’s death holds her back from winning the local boarding trophy – and a very useful cash prize. While the set-up is pure Cinderella the execution is all Rocky. As Kim was fighting the odds I found myself rooting for her: when she crashed in the snow I felt her pain and when she got up and faced her demons I felt her determination, god I even cried at one point – in a quiet manly way. There are plenty of clichés: a Step Mother who turns out to be Evil (in a mild way) and a Tart who – guess what – grows a Heart, but despite all of that I just found myself going along with it. No, not just going along with it, but loving it. The success is partly down to a script that punches well above its weight: the sharp banter runs like this: Posh Richard (Bill Nighy): [pointing at a helicopter] You ever been in one of these things? Kim: [impressed but ultra-cool] Yeah, we have one at home. This one's pretty small actually. Posh Richard: Do we pay extra for irony? Kim: No, the irony's free, it's the sarcasm you're paying for. Ironically... But the success is mostly down to Felicity Jones - she’s hardly off screen and start-to-finish she oozes a hypnotic charm that wraps itself around you from go. Then there’s the scenery too. The snow and chalet scenes are shot in Austria, in particular St Anton where ‘The Museum’ is used for exterior shots of the posh chalet – well, they are stunning. Between the location, Felicity and even (strangely enough) Ed Westwick I left the cinema with my love for humanity and indeed the world in much better shape than when I went in. I’m still being divorced of course, but after the film I feel slightly better about the process.