Snow Day (2000)

Movie Title: Snow Day

Year Released: 2000

Rated: PG

Runtime: 1h 29min

Genre: Comedy

Director: Chris Koch

Writer: Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi

Starring: Chris Elliott, Mark Webber, Jean Smart, Chevy Chase, Schuyler Fisk, Zena Grey, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Iggy Pop, Pam Grier, John Schneider, Josh Peck, Jade Yorker, Damian Young, Connor Matheus, J. Adam Brown, David Paetkau

Review: Anything can happen on a snow day. And in this snowy tale, the Brandston family puts that theory to the test as dad Tom (Chevy Chase) is a TV weatherman desperately trying to top the news ratings. Mom Laura is a stressed businesswoman trying to find childcare for her toddler. All the while the other two Brandston kids are on quests of their own as Hal (Mark Webber) tries to get the attention of his crush, Claire (Emanuelle Chriqui). And last but not least, Natalie (Zena Grey) tries once and for all to defeat the evil Snowplowman (Chris Elliott) to ensure that her and her friends get that elusive second snow day.

If that synopsis has you thinking that there are a lot of things going on in this 90-minute movie, then you would be correct. And that, in my opinion, is the true downfall of this film. There are simply too many storylines happening simultaneously, that the movie never really finds its rhythm. It comes off as clunky and disjointed. With that said, Snow Day is a double-edged sword for me, as there are many elements to this film that I do enjoy, and really are the only reasons why I re-visit this film every so often during the holiday season. As the name suggests, this film all revolves around one single day; a snow day to be exact. I feel like I may need to explain this magical phenomenon, as I'm not entirely sure folks who grew up in warmer, tropical climates know what these wonderful days mean. A snow day, is a day where it snows so much, and gets so darn cold that nobody wants to go to school, work, etc. And schools and businesses close, and when that happens, the world is your oyster. For that one day, kids trade in math tests and homework for sledding, building snowmen, and having battle royale snowball fights. It's truly exhilarating!

Growing up in the midwest, it was my honor and privilege to experience snow days on many occasions, and I think that nostalgia is what makes me have a soft spot for this movie. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like waking up on a December or January morning, hearing the snow plows outside your window, and seeing the streets absolutely buried in snow. To an adult, this may seem like their own personal blizzardy hell, but to a kid who runs to his or her TV to hear their school among the many closures for the day, it essentially becomes the greatest day imaginable. Where Snow Day excels, is eliciting that excitement. When Natalie and her friends try to stop the evil Snowplowman from doing his job to get a second consecutive snow day, I felt that, because the only thing better than one snow day, is two snow days!

This film does a great job getting me into the spirit of the season, reminding me of all the silly shenanigans that my friends and I used to get into on these most glorious days. I love seeing scenes of kids playing in the snow, having snowball fights, and sledding down a massive hill. Even Chevy Chase gets in on the action, zooming uncontrollably down a sled hill full of unsuspecting people trying to enjoy their day off. The scene pays homage to a more mature classic Christmans comedy in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, where Chevy Chase infamously wreaks havoc on a sled hill. Mark Webber's Hal, racing around town (literally) to try and steal a kiss from the apple of his eye Claire, is also quite funny. He attempts to evade the grasp of a character that is every meathead high school ex-boyfriend in every movie ever. Finally, I do like Chris Elliott as the deranged Snowplowman, Roger Stubblefield. You have to hand it to him, 'ol Roger really takes pride in his job, even marking his plow with snowflakes for every snow day he prevents. Elliott, of Schitt's Creek fame, has a proclivity for playing the seedy villainous type, but doing so in a way that is endearing and amusing. The dude literally drives around town with his pet crow Trudy in tow, and eats french fries with ketchup off a kid's chest who is using the aforementioned ketchup to try to mimic blood. Not to mention a good old-fashioned Christmas kidnapping. But it's all in good fun!

Snow Day is silly, clunky, and suffers from a script that has too much going on for its own good. But there's a lot of fun here if you can move past all that. I guess that's the difference from viewing this movie as a kid versus viewing it now as an adult. Kids won't pick up on the writing or the erratic plot, they'll simply see a bunch of kids just like them enjoying a 24-hour gift from the heavens. A day void of school and stress filled with nothing but wintry fun. That right there, is enough for me to keep this film in the rotation every couple of years.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: A real bank heist took place near the filming location, and the felons drove right past the production assistant, who immediately alerted everyone on-set. The felons were surprised to see that they were driving through a film set, shortly before driving headlong into (and becoming hopelessly stuck in) a fake snow drift. The police immediately apprehended the two bumbling crooks to the amusement of all on-set.


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