29 June 2002 | deadkerouac
Let it snow...
SNOW DAYS (a.k.a. LET IT SNOW) is an engaging independent film that focuses on the trials and tribulations of an aspiring cook who may--or may not--be in love with his childhood chum. Writer-producer Kipp Marcus stars as James Ellis, a young man with a problem: he wants to be happy. A snow day hits his sleepy town, so he and Sarah Milson (Alice Dylan, a dead ringer for actress Monica Keena), who are "only friends," spend a day together making snow angels and having snowball fights. Who knew that it'd be one very cherished childhood memory? The two move on from there, Sarah to college to study meteorology, James to the CIA--"Not that CIA...the Cooking Institute of America." After a Winterfest dance, the two share a kiss. Is it love? No, says Sarah, it was a "mistake." James agrees...but as narrator, he kindly lets us know that he is lying. James moves on to New York, for work as a waiter, while Sarah moves on to Oxford, James, of course, longing to be with Sarah. And when Sarah moves to New York...well, you get the idea.
Directed by Adam Marcus, whose only previous credit was the ninth installment of the FRIDAY THE 13TH film series (the one where Jason supposedly "goes to Hell"), and who must be Kipp's father, SNOW DAYS is a small film that takes a cliched situation (in film and in life) and flashes moments of wit. Title cards are shown throughout the film (one lists the total population of New Yorkers, along with the number of those in therapy; another simply says, "Spring sucks!"), and James's predicaments--suffering through cooking school, juggling three women at once, getting a job as a waiter for a catering company that (gulp!) does wedding receptions (the interview for the job itself is very funny)--make the film unique from most released today.
Look for Henry Simmons as James's friend Mitch and Miriam Shor as Sarah's psychotic college roommate Beth; both manage to steal some scenes in their respective roles. Alice Dylan is also wonderful in playing a teenage girl that matures into a successful businesswoman (when she tells James she works in ABC's marketing department, James quips, "You can market the weather?"), and Marcus, of course, displays a knack for playing a conflicted regular guy (Marcus must have enrolled in the Tom Hanks school of acting). Another scene-stealer is Bernadette Peters as James's mother Elise. A classic scene involves her analogy that James is like their orange Volvo, whose fate involved a trip to the junkyard...a car with some real potential. Isn't that life?
8/10. Predictable story but with good characterization, excellent editing, and some pretty good cinematography of New York. My favorite scene: James and psycho roomie Beth share a kiss. It's not a good one, so Beth says, "Okay, pretend I'm Sarah, I'll pretend you're Sam Shepard." The next kiss is passionate. Beth is aroused...James then pukes on her.
PS Look for the director as the "fascist French chef" at the CIA.