½*/**** Image B Sound B- Extras C
starring Jason London, Willie Garson, Lee Majors, Zach Galifianakis
screenplay by Jon Zack
directed by The Malloys
by Walter Chaw The Malloy Brothers' ode to the "makin' it" comedies of the mid-'80s (which reached their apex at the genre's nascence with Bob Clark's coming-of-age smut-fest Porky's) is the flaccid snowboard epic Out Cold. Looking back at Porky's (not that I would look back at Porky's) reveals that its thrills are decidedly modest--but not nearly so modest as those in the disingenuously chaste Out Cold. The film is so much just a collection of puerile (and unfunny) pranks interspersed with extended cock-teases that the effect is akin to watching a Britney Spears concert with a fraternity.
Set on fictitious Bull Mountain (population: slacker), Out Cold is about a quirky community under pressure from a monolithic corporation seeking to turn Bull Mountain's loser paradise into "just another Aspen" full of the rich and beautiful. It is also about good guy Rick (Jason London) who loves good girl Jenny (A.J. Cook) but doesn't know it because he's hung up on French strumpet Anna (Caroline Dhavernas), the daughter of evil developer John Majors (Lee Majors, playing one entire scene with mucus decorating his upper lip). Whether the two main plot lines will be resolved is never a question. More of a concern is whether 1999 Playmate of the Year Victoria Silvstedt will ever get naked (not really), whether anyone will ever get naked (not really), and whether someone will actually get killed or mutilated while being pranked (not really).
Out Cold is essentially a spineless, unfunny Animal House. The pretense of plot is distracting and insulting--let's not pretend that the audience for Out Cold is interested in anything but the snowboarding footage (not enough of it, though what is there is good, I guess), the occasional low joke (stool sample in a urine cup? Uh-huh...), or the T&A, which will only probably titillate nine-year-olds who haven't checked out dad's sock drawer yet. Refreshing would be a cheap teensploitation flick that resisted making copious references to Casablanca (homage particularly self-important as the demographic for garbage like this most likely doesn't remember any film more than two years old), and just served up the prurience with pace and technical proficiency.
Touchstone presents Out Cold in a soft and slightly grainy (particularly in a few time-lapse transitions) 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on DVD. Edge enhancement and digital artefacts mar a print that shows unforgivable wear. Still, although the image should be flawless given Out Cold's recency, its flaws are relatively minor. Shadow, contrast, and black levels are good; you can keep the lights on for this one--no reason not to, after all. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundmix is far less impressive, demonstrating a lack of care that befits the reception and quality of the film but will no doubt disappoint the fan of the picture. There is almost no use of rear channels and all speech is funnelled through the centre. Most lonesome is the subwoofer, which doesn't even get any love from the skatepunk-lite soundtrack.
A feature-length commentary (inaccessible save through the bonus material menu--mainly, I suspect, because Disney wants to be sure you read their no-accountability disclaimer) features the Malloys (Emmett & Brendan) and their grandmother Rose and is indicated after about the midway point by long stretches of silence punctuated by exceptionally inane observations, straight plot narration, and the occasional self-appreciative giggle. Grandma Rose provides some trenchant commentary at the beginning ("I'm here with my two grandsons--they've directed this sort of funny movie...yeah, they do a pretty good job, I guess"), but disappears for long stretches out of what is most likely embarrassment (and the wearying prospect of conjuring new euphemisms for "this movie is not very good"). Most alarming is the bleeping of profanity on this track to keep, I guess, Out Cold suitable for young children and Pilgrims--a strange message, like most messages from The Mouse. Unfortunately, the Malloys do explain why Majors has a streak of snot on his face for the duration of a shot--I gotta say it's funnier to think it's an accident than to learn the truth.
A five-minute featurette called "Greetings From Bull Mountain" is the standard five-minute B-roll/soft-sell interview errata that features a few additional male buttock shots; "King of the Mountain" is a two-minute music video that splices action sequences from the film together with bloopers and sets it to music (something resurrected in feature-length form by this year's ESPN's X-movie); and nine chapter-encoded deleted scenes (blissfully sans commentary and running between fifteen seconds and a minute, each) are essentially long "comedy" shticks that prove for as bad as Out Cold was, it could have been even worse. Those looking for the missing nudity would have better luck looting the aforementioned sock drawer. The disc is rounded out with trailers for Corky Romano and New Port South. Originally published: June 4, 2002.