After watching Snow Day, my initial thought was "2000 must have been a bad year for movies, if I am seriously considering putting Snow Day on my top 10 list for the year."
But, really, that's not fair to Snow Day. This movie has a whole lot going for it. It was written and produced by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi who were the creators of what might have been the best show on television, ever, The Adventures of Pete & Pete. It prominently features Chris Elliot and Damian Young (who played possibly my favorite character on Pete & Pete, Bus Driver Stu Benedict -- as well as his brilliant performance in Hal Hartley's Amateur)
A quick rundown of the plot, for those who haven't seen it. The movie is prefaced by a quick introduction. Town near Syracuse, NY (played by Alberta) has had an unseasonably warm winter. Then it snows. A lot. The film then breaks into four storylines.
Plot 1 - Hal (played by Mark Webber who was very good in Drive Me Crazy) has a crush on Miss Popular. He sets out with his tomboy friend (who is in love with him, of course, and is played by Sissy Spacek's daughter, apparently) to win over the popular girl. He realizes he should be with his friend instead.
Plot 2 - Hal's sister, Natalie, wants to keep the Snow Plow Man (Chris Elliot) from plowing the roads and preventing two snow days in a row. She's distraught, however, that her older brother would rather chase after a girl than help with this task.
Plot 3 - Hal's dad (Chevy Chase) is a weatherman who is losing ratings to a good looking moron who he tries to prove is a moron.
Plot 4 - Hal's workaholic mom has to stay home with their crazed younger brother and remembers that having a family is a good thing.
So, you can see we're not breaking any new ground with this movie. In fact, plots 1 + 2 are lifted pretty directly from old episodes of Pete & Pete, which really isn't a bad thing. In fact, the whole film feels sort of like a feature length episode of Pete & Pete. Even some of the actors in the movie look alarmingly like actors from the show.
Fortunately, this is McRobb and Viscardi's forte. They know how to do fun family stories that play like a slightly more upbeat John Hughes. If you can overlook the occasional fart joke (which I think you pretty much have to if you want to go to a Hollywood film made in the last 5 years), you'll probably end up liking this a lot more than you would think you would.
Rating: B+Reviewed by Padgett Arango