This engaging kid-eye view of “the real winter miracle” is good family fun. It has something for both littler and bigger kids and is very endurable for parents.
The theme of the movie is that “anything can happen on a snowday,” and it does a good job of evoking the magic of waking up to find the world soft, white, and new, and all normal rules and obligations suspended.
One snowday in particular changes the lives of all five members of the Brandston family. The father (Chevy Chase) is a TV weatherman who is humiliated because he has to dress in silly outfits to try to get better ratings than his handsome but unethical rival. The mother (Jean Smart) loves her family, but is preoccupied with an important project at work. Teenage son Hal is in love with the most beautiful girl in school. His sister Nat has a dream — defeating the enemy of the snow day, Snowplow Man (Chris Elliot), so the kids can stay home an extra day. And their little brother Randy just wants to have some fun with his mom.
One nice thing about the movie is that it shows us a believably harried but genuinely kind and loving family. Nat and Hal have a real sense of commitment and teamwork and the mother may be caught up in her big project, but it is clear that she loves her family very much. And it is very nice to see Chevy Chase in a more low-key and genuine role.
Another nice thing is that it shows us that sometimes what we think we want isn’t what we want after all, and that something better might be right in front of us.
Parents should know that there is some potty humor and some mild schoolyard language. Kids do some unwise and even dangerous things, like confronting an adult, pelting the principal with snowballs, rigging a show shelter with electricity, and driving a snowplow. But it is clear that the movie is a fantasy, and it can give families a good opportunity to talk about taking risks and setting priorities — and about what kind of music is best for ice skating and what kinds of snowballs are the best for a snowball fight!
Kerri Pomarolli is a talented, funny, creative, enthusiastic actress/comedian who describes herself as an “out of the closet Christian.” She is a regular on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show and she is featured in the documentary Hollywood on Fire, about the the successes and failures of faith-driven actors, directors, producers, music artists, and executives. It presents “a different view on how Christians in the entertainment industry encounter secularist and Hollywood skeptics, yet do not compromise their faith.” It was a great pleasure to get a chance to talk to her.
What were some of the movies that influenced you when you were growing up?
I was one of those kids roller skating in the basement to “Grease” and “Annie.” At age 3 or 4 I told everyone I was going to Hollywood. I grew up on the classics, Cary Grant, William Holden — I loved his movie “Picnic,” and when I got older I got to be in the play. I had a wealth of knowledge of classics like “All about Eve” and stars like Angela Lansbury. The classics were not just kids movies but good family movies and that’s sort of been lost now. Everything is either a kids movie or an adult movie. And TV too — when I was growing up the sitcoms were for families, but now there are kid-specific channels and programs and the other sit-coms are more for adults and not for children or for families to share.
What do you look for in a project or part?
I came out here and had certain rules for myself as an actress and a Christian. At first, I thought of it in terms of “as long as my character isn’t doing anything bad,” it was all right but that evolved as my faith has evolved. A project can look clean but then you look behind it and it is not. There can be integrity issues behind the scenes. If integrity isn’t there on screen and behind it, it isn’t the right project. It has to be something that as a person of faith I feel like God says, “This is you, this is your task.”
I love working on the Leno show. He is great. It is pretty PG rated. They treat you with such respect there, too. The crew has been with him for 20 years, which really says something. I have never compromised my faith in my work on the show. The casting director is a Christian. I hear the new show will be more like the Ed Sullivan show, and I think it will be great.What is your dream project?
My book Guys Like Girls Named Jennie is being turned into a screenplay. It is a Christian romantic comedy, a really real romantic comedy, the kind of project a 14 year old girl or a 35 year old woman can watch. I’d love to play myself!
“Worth a Mention’s” Howie Weed” reports that a number of remakes are in the works. New versions of “Total Recall,” based on a Philip K. Dick story, “Clash of the Titans,” and “The Never-Ending Story” are all in the works.
The upcoming “Race to Witch Mountain” is being billed as “a “modern re-imagining” of 1975’s “Escape to Witch Mountain, not a remake. I’m looking forward to seeing the actors who played the children in the original in cameo appearances.
Which remake do you wish had never been released? Is there a movie you’d like to see remade?