Synopsis: One year on from their eventful meeting at a holiday club on the Ivory Coast, six disparate characters find themselves reunited in the French Alps. The nouvelle-riche couple Bernard and Nathalie arrive for a winter skiing holiday, and are not pleased to find their room is still being occupied. Jean-Claude checks into the same hotel and demands a room with a double bed, so confident is he that he will at last find a woman who will sleep with him. Jerôme works as a mountain doctor, occupying himself mainly with attractive young women who injure themselves whilst skiing, to the chagrin of his wife Gigi who toils away all day in her pancake restaurant. That leaves Popeye, the gigolo skiing instructor who finds himself homeless when his ex-wife throws him out. After some eventful skiing lessons, the six friends set out for an off-piste exploration of the Alps and soon realise they are totally lost. As the others set off to find help, Jean-Claude volunteers to remain with Gigi and Nathalie, sure that his hour has come…
eyelights: the familiarity of the characters. the setting.
eyesores: the sometimes clichéd humour.
God, I hated this film the first time around. It was bad enough that it was a terrible AVI file whose low resolution masked the dialogue somewhat, but I found the few sight gags utterly stale. I gave it a 3.5. Not good.
Strangely, this time, I kind of enjoyed it. Oh, it’s not award-winning cinema, but I found it more pleasing than even ‘Les Bronzés‘, the cult classic. Perhaps it was a case of adjusted expectations, perhaps I could simply hear the dialogues (and hence the jokes) clearly this time, but I liked it. A bit.
For starters, I thought that there was at least a semblance of story in one part of the picture, whereas the first one was episodic and not especially amusing. This one at least builds on the characters of the previous film, giving us a bit more perspective on what they’re about.
For this outing, though, one thing that the cast of Le Splendid did, was to take the characters away from the beach and sent them to a ski resort in the French Alps; they didn’t just give audiences an exact carbon copy of the original picture. And by transposing the lot to a polar opposite setting, they opened up possibilities otherwise unavailable to them.
It doesn’t mean that the focus has changed that much: many of the characters are still on the make, trying to have fun and getting some at the same time. It’s just that the resort isn’t entirely conducive to hooking up. And there are changes:
– Popeye is pussy-whipped an cuckolded publicly by his spouse – with his cousin, no less. He appears gutted throughout, in total opposition to the extremely confident womanizer from the first film.
– Jérôme works at a clinic at/near the resort. His focus is now his work, now that he’s married.
– Gigi has married Jérôme and works in a pancake house at the resort. She is no longer bed-hopping and has much less screen time.
– Nathalie and Bernard are “nouveau riche” and enjoying the fruits of their labours. They are slightly arrogant and impatient, however, which causes them a few problems along the way.
– Christiane is seeing a much older, married man. Seemingly mature at the beginning of the first film, she is now an emotionally-starved woman who is desperately in love with a man she’d have once ignored.
Only Jean-Claude remains the same, still trying his utmost to bed a woman, but failing miserably. But what would one expect from such a schlep anyway?
As with its predecessor, ‘Les Bronzés font du ski’ also revolves around a bunch of episodic moments. However, this time it serves up a finale that plunges the cast deep in the Alps, as some of them get lost and meet up with the locals while the others try to rescue them. It’s not especially dramatic, of course, being a comedy – and the conclusion is a fitting punchline for their adventure.
All in all, it made for an amusing 90 minutes with our offbeat cast of characters. It’s not remarkable by any stretch of the imagination, though; it falls neatly in the brand of comedy that was popular in the early ’80s, and that made hits out of ‘Police Academy’, ‘Porky’s’, that sort of thing. Again, not great cinema, but enjoyable enough to perhaps be comfort food for some.
Date of viewing: May 6, 2013