Somehow, the kid movie genre made it all the way to 2000 without a feature about rugrats running rampant in celebration of snow-closed schools. It's such a great idea that it's hard to imagine nobody thought of it before.
Alas, nobody did. So now enter "Snow Day," a production of kiddie cable network Nickelodeon, in which a band of neighborhood children resolve once and for all to defeat their most wicked adversary -- the sinister Snow Plow Man (Chris Elliott), who takes great glee clearing the roads so efficiently that the kids never get two days off in a row.
This winter, the kids (lead by young Zena Grey, "The Bone Collector") vow to do whatever it takes -- snowball fights, dirty tricks, laying traps, playing chicken with the giant plow and even kidnapping the plow man's scary pet bird -- to get that second snow day.
Unfortunately, "Snow Day" can't seem to stick to its singular original thought, and much of the movie is taken up by some trite and tiresome tripe about teenage love. Half of the movie is wasted following Gray's crush-struck brother (Mark Webber, "Drive Me Crazy") on a nervous pursuit of the Unattainable In-Crowd Girl (the blatantly braless Emmanuelle Chriqui, "Detroit Rock City") with the Bullying Jock Boyfriend (David Paetkau).
Then there's the parental subplots that play bad parenting for laughs. Poor Jean Smart is stuck in the role of a workaholic mom who learns to lighten up. Chevy Chase plays a put-upon weatherman for the low-rated local TV news, out to discredit a popular, handsome rival (John Schneider from "Dukes of Hazzard") from another station.
Ummm, so what?
There's about 25 minutes of good material in this 89 minute movie -- all of it involving the kids vs. Snow Plow Man -- and as unambitious, generically populated kid flicks go, you could do a lot worse.
Snow Plow Man is one gnarly nefarian -- a gross, grouchy, ugly, insidious doofus played with pernicious aplomb by the habitually grating Elliott ("Cabin Boy," "There's Something About Mary"). He drives a menacing monster truck with a hungry blade on the front that can take out cars and trees as easily as snow drifts. "They say his chain are made from the braces of kids who didn't get out of his way," one kid quakes.
Had director Chris Koch and writers Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi stuck to this concept and fleshed it out, instead of wasting time with aimless secondary stories, "Snow Day" could have been a real kick. As is, it's an amusing, but utterly forgettable matinee.
Run time: 89 mins
In Theaters: Friday 11th February 2000
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 47
IMDB: 4.9 / 10
Director: Chris Koch
Starring: Chevy Chase as Tom Brandston, Chris Elliott as Roger the Snowplowman, Jean Smart as Laura Brandston, Iggy Pop as Mr. Zellweger, Pam Grier as Tina, Emmanuelle Chriqui as Claire Bonner, John Schneider as Chad Symmonz, Schuyler Fisk as Lane Leonard, Mark Webber as Hal Brandston
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