TOMATOMETER Critics 79% | Audience 53%
Pretty tomboy Kim (Felicity Jones) used to be a champion skateboarder, but now she flips burgers to support herself and her dad. Opportunity comes knocking when she flukes a winter-long catering job in one of the plushest ski chalets in the Alps. At first, Kim is baffled by this bizarre new world of posh people, vintage champagne, epic mountains and waist deep powder. Then Kim discovers snowboarding, and her natural talent soon sees her training for the end-of-season competition, with a chance to win major prize money. But before she can become a champion again, Kim needs to overcome her deepest fears - and figure out what's going on with Jonny (Ed Westwick), her boss' handsome but apparently unavailable son. –
Rating:R (for some language)
Genre: Art House & International , Comedy
Directed By:Phil Traill
Written By:Tom Williams , Tom Williams (XXV)
In Theaters:Oct 14, 2011 Limited
On DVD:Sep 9, 2011
Runtime: 97 minutes
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2011
Nick Schager Village Voice Top Critic
Hot Dog… The Movie and its disreputable ski-comedy ilk might have been a low point in cinema history, but at least their unbridled crassness had energy; Chalet Girl embraces similar ‘80s tropes for a lethargic you-go-girl fairy tale. When English tomboy Kim (Felicity Jones) takes a job working at a wealthy family’s Austrian Alps getaway, so she can support her single dad, she’s mocked by her bitchy blonde colleague (Tamsin Egerton) and discovers that her once-celebrated skateboarding skills translate quite nicely to snowboarding. Phil Traill’s film introduces class divisions and culture-clash tensions only to immediately pull its punches, having Kim overcome one adversity after another with almost supernatural ease. Romance between working-class Kim and princely employer Jonny (Ed Westwick) is—despite his engagement to Chloe (Sophia Bush) and the disapproval of his mother (Brooke Shields)—as predictable as the many training-to-triumph montages and the climactic snowboarding competition, all of it formulaic pap treated with enervating earnestness. Jones is a passably plucky heroine, but from Kim’s efforts to overcome the trauma of her mom’s death to her accidentally falling on top of Jonny on the slopes, Chalet Girl is just a compendium of genre clichés—minus the usual racism and t&a.
*** Dave Calhoun Time Out Top Critic
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?
September 2, 2011
Dale Rolfe MovieFIX
Pretty tomboy Kim Matthews, 19, used to be a champion skateboarder - but now she's stuck in a dead-end job trying to support her dad. Opportunity comes knocking in the form of a catering job in the one of the most exclusive chalets in the Alps. At first, Kim's baffled by this bizarre new world of posh people, champagne and skiing - but then she discovers snowboarding, and the chance to win some much-needed prize money at the big end-of-season competition. But before she can become a champion again, Kim's going to have to dig deep to overcome her fears.
August 31, 2011
Sandra Hall Sydney Morning Herald
Before seeing it, I had re-christened this film Shallow Girl. After all, its director, Phil Traill, not only worked on the cack-handed American version of Kath and Kim, he was responsible for the spectacularly unfunny Sandra Bullock movie All About Steve.
There's also the generic nature of Chalet Girl's plot. It is an alpine Cinderella story that could be set in Chamonix, Thredbo or Aspen, where it would almost certainly be turned into Gossip Girl with snow bunnies.
We are in St Anton in the Tirol with a British cast and a lightly astringent script out to extract as much fun as possible from the pretensions and snobberies that often flourish at posh ski resorts. Admittedly, Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick is cast as Prince Charming but he, too, gets into the dryly deadpan spirit of the thing. Shallow Girl it isn't.
His Cinderella, Kim (Felicity Jones), is a former skateboard champion whose career has been blindsided by a car accident that killed her mother. Still grieving, she can't bring herself to go back to the sport. She is working in a burger bar to support herself and her father, Bill, who is also traumatised - although "traumatised" is a relative term.
He is played by the cheery comic Bill Bailey, whose idea of depression is to look amiably disinclined to do anything but sit on the couch.
Kim is offered work as a live-in maid-housekeeper in a private chalet in St Anton. It's traditionally a rich girl's gig and she's taken on only because of a sudden shortage of willowy Knightsbridge blondes with the right accent. But we know she'll make a go of it as soon as she meets Georgie (Tamsin Egerton), the Knightsbridge blonde she will be working with.
Georgie is an admirably forthright bitch whose saving grace is her sense of humour. When Kim starts genially swapping insults with her, she realises things are going to be much more entertaining if she decides to like her. That's the thing about this film. Nobody stays mean for long. They don't have the stamina for it.
This certainly applies to Bill Nighy, who's at his most affably languid and hedonistic as the chalet's wealthy owner. His wife (Brooke Shields) is much frostier - particularly when their son, Jonny (Westwick), starts paying attention to Kim.
But romance is merely a subplot. The main action takes place on the slopes, where Kim is living up to our expectations by starting to teach herself to snowboard. The consequences of her efforts are equally predictable but the certainty of a happy ending does nothing to spoil the enjoyment of getting there.
The script's unpredictabilities lie in its unwillingness to appoint a villain. Shields comes close but even she starts to thaw before the film's end. Kim's main opposition is within. Memories of the car crash have a way of springing graphically to mind with every risk she takes.
Jones, who has charmed London critics with her work on stage, is a newcomer to feature films but she is a screen natural. She's tiny, bright-eyed, quick with a throwaway line. Dressed for much of the time in baggy pants, a beanie and a fleece, she looks like the tomboy she's supposed to be.
Whether she's spraying herself with champagne bubbles while trying to uncork a bottle or catapulting into a snowdrift, she knows how to make every moment count without pushing it - a useful talent in a story where so many of the laughs flow from incidental details.
It's an unassuming film but a surprisingly beguiling one. Maybe Traill, who grew up in Britain, should return to his home ground more often. The relaxed style of British comedy suits him.
*** Darren B July 10, 2016
Good, fun, funny, rom-com.
*** mollyrivard June 26, 2016
It's predictable, but it was funny and Felicity Jones is charming.
*½ James M December 30, 2015
Dirty Dancing meets Bend It Like Beckham with snowboards, starring beautiful English rose Felicity Jones as a poor London girl who takes a job as hired help at a ski chalet, where in-between being in the service of a bunch of posh twats she practices snowboarding for an upcoming contest.
Though the script is turgid, predictable and quite irresponsible, the film succeeds where it needs to, where Felicity Jones rises above all the dross with a shining leading performance which put her on the showbiz map. It's just a shame that the script called for her character to spending way too much time chasing a tedious pretty boy who doesn't deserve her.
*** Pavan R June 23, 2015
Maybe cliched but entertaining. Good fun for a chilled out evening at home !
Blair S February 22, 2015
Cute teen movie. Nothing more.
**½ Becca A February 10, 2015
My mum always used to say, "You've got brains in your head, feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."
***½ butterbuglb December 20, 2014
good film, funny in places.
*** ½ Caitlin L November 28, 2014
Not as good as I thought it would. The chemistry between them is ok.
*** Tony P November 14, 2014
Feel good film based in the picturesque Austrian ski resort of St Anton about a... chalet girl.
Not an ordinary chalet girl though.
In approximately eight weeks we see the chalet girl in question, a character named Kim Matthews transform from a working class CHAV Cockney being at the beck and call of some snooty banking family to a snowboarding champion getting the bloke in the process. Very Rocky Balboa in unrealism!
The scenery is at times breathtaking and could have been taken straight from the opening sequence of James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
Comic Bill Bailey plays a character interestingly called Bill (Kims dad). I had to sympathise with his cooking skills!
The film has several sentimental moments as Kim suffers flashbacks of her late mothers death in a horrific car accident.
Brooke Shields plays an unsympathetic posh mother who used to be a Concorde air hostess. Bill Nighy is her husband.
The only other person I recognised was Neils dad of The Inbetweeners TV series and films.
*** Ryan M November 13, 2014
Nice surprise! Cute snowboard flick about loss and newly found love.
** ½ Ebony S August 31, 2014
Watched the one edited for daytime viewing... Utterly predictable storyline!! But good for a Sunday afternoon after lunch chilling with family!!!
***** Jo A. Jo A. August 30, 2014
It was good, the movie cover makes it look way worse than it is
Darren H June 27, 2014
Funny, easy to watch chick flick
** ½ Rena T June 10, 2014
Comfortable and predictable. English humor is a hit or miss.
***** Diane M May 30, 2014
Loved it! A feel good, cheer you up film, they rarely make them like this anymore! Reminds me of being a chalet girl!
*** Jon H March 22, 2014
A strong lead performance stops this from being awful
**** Amber B March 10, 2014
I tried watching it but couldn't get into it. But then I came back and watched it all the way through and really enjoyed it!!
**** 339z 339z March 9, 2014
wow ummmmn just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is an enjoyable movie 2 watch.......its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie......i think that felicity jones, ed westwick, tamsin egerton, bill nighy, bill bailey, play good roles/parts throughout this movie......i think that the director of this art house/international/comedy/romance movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie.....YOU HAVE GOT TO WATCH THE END OF THE CREDITS THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE AS SOMETHING HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE CREDITS THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE.......i think that bill bailey was brilliant thorughout this movie.......i think that this is an enjoyable romantic comedy movie 2 watch........i think that brooke shields was good throughout this movie......i think that Tara Dakides, as herself) was good in her cameo throughout this movie......i think that ed westwick was good thorughout this movie as the love interest of felicity jones thorughout this movie........i think that this is an enjoyable romantic comedy movie 2 watch........its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie.....i think that this is an enjoyable movie 2 watch its an enjoyable romantic comedy movie 2 watch its got a good cast throughout this movie......i think that this is such an enjoyable movie 2 watch with a good cast thorughout this movie its an enjoyable romantic comedy movie 2 watch.........its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie.....its an enjoyable movie 2 watch..........