A classic comedy of mistaken identity and romance set during the holiday season at a ski resort that is owned and operated by a Native American Nation. Shot on location at The Sundance ... See full summary »
A classic comedy of mistaken identity and romance set during the holiday season at a ski resort that is owned and operated by a Native American Nation. Shot on location at The Sundance Resort in Utah, this is the first contemporary romantic comedy to feature an almost entirely American Indian cast. The film was featured at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Written by
I liked but am not enthusiastic about this movie. How to describe it? Something of a Comedy of Manners, in the spirit of one of the old Cary Grant movies. Or something like that delightful movie with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye with Rosemary Clooney and Vera Allen, in the exquisite "White Christmas," set in a snowy Christmas lodge setting. In this movie, though, we have a snowy Christmas lodge setting with a distinctively Native American flavor and contemporary mores.
The Native American setting was to me interesting and (as far as I know) authentic.
I say "as far as I know" because, on the one hand, I have some Native American background myself, and live in Oklahoma, and have regular contact with folks who live within contemporary Native American culture ... yes, including bingo and tribal chief electioneering and tribal commercial enterprise and also genuine if fragile roots in Native American culture of the past ... language, song, hunting skills, spirituality of Nature, and more.
I also say "as far as I know" because I can't claim the kind of depth of background indicated in the movie and have no experience at all of life on a "rez."
The humorous sequences were just wonderful ... hilarious, artful, engaging, and full of contagious laughter. I think especially of the sequences at the opening and closing of the movie. The middle of the movie seemed to lag at times in terms of humor, as well as plot and dialog.
Cinematography was excellent. There are some breathtaking scenes of fog and snow and mountain and tree.
The script for the central romance seemed to me a little strained. The female lead (Marianna Tosca as Tina Little Hawk) was excellent, but her part in the scripted dialog often seemed lagging to me: she smiled brightly and winsomely and almost airheadedly ... yet we know from her first appearance and from subsequent sequences that she was nothing of the sort. The central conversation just didn't have anything like the pace or humor or crisp airy delight of the same kinds of scenes in the Cary Grant or Crosby/Hope flicks.
Still Graham Greene as Earl the Chef was wonderfully humorous. His interactions with the Guests was hilarious. And the final sequences almost make up in quickness and focus and good humor and fun for the lagging middle sequences of the movie. Sam Vlahos as Joe Clouds on Fire was excellent; and Emmet Walsh as Stu turned in a fine performance; and the interactions between Joe and Stu were both the most touching and the most humorous of a movie full of good humor.
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