Snow Day

Directed by Chris Koch
Starring: Chris Elliot, Chevy Chase, Mark Webber, Zena Grey, Jean Smart.
MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild peril and language.

Review by Matt Heffernan
February 14, 2000

Children's cable channel Nickelodeon's latest attempt at a feature film takes place in Syracuse, New York -- where I was born and raised. If you watch the Weather Channel, you know that Syracuse's biggest claim to fame (next to the University) is the snow. Most winters, massive blizzards bury the city in crippling mountains of snow. Ironically, snow days are rare because of a highly efficient plow system, and only the most intense and immediate blizzard can close the schools. Of course, if you believe the movies, the plowing is done by a single, evil man, and not a massive crew that saves hundreds of lives each year.

If you've seen the trailer for Snow Day, you basically know the entire plot. Chevy Chase plays a TV weatherman, and he has a lovely wife (Jean Smart) and three cute kids. His eldest son, Hal (Mark Webber), has a crush on Claire (Emmanuelle Chriqui), the most beautiful girl in school. His daughter, Natalie (Zena Grey), is forced to do battle gainst the evil "Snowplow Man" (Chris Elliot) without her big brother to help.

They all get into the most incredibly clichéd situations, which are allegedly intended to be humorous. Hal has a girl-buddy (Schuyler Fisk), who really likes him, but he is too busy pursuing Claire. There is a principal (Damian Young) who seems to hate children even more than Snowplow Man. And so many other insanely one-dimensional characters that I'd prefer not to write about them any further.

I was fully prepared to give this film zero stars, but I think I will give it a break. The idiotic toilet humor (The fat kid farts! What genius!) seemed to appeal to the kids, and there is plenty of rebelling against authority figures to keep them entertained. But for the adults, it's a long, painful 80 minutes. Despite being intended for an older demographic, Snow Day is so puerile and lame that it makes The Tigger Movie look like mature, sophisticated entertainment. If you can, try to trick your kids into seeing that film instead.

And what is it with Chevy Chase? Has he lost whatever comic talent and taste that he had on "Saturday Night Live" 25 years ago? This is just the latest is a long string of painful films that he has inflicted on the filmgoing public. Even Chris Elliot, whom I usually admire, cannot save this crapfest. Worse are cameos by Iggy Pop and TLC's Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas that can only hurt their careers in music. My God! How many innocent people can one bad film consume?

This is the first major motion picture that I know to be set in Syracuse (The Boys from Syracuse took place in ancient Greece, which would explain the togas). At this point, my only option is to get a production deal at some studio and make a decent film about my hometown. Otherwise, I will have to live with the shame of coming from the Snow Day city.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Snow Day (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at
Snow Day (2000) -- VHS
Snow Day (2000) -- DVD
Snow Day, a screenplay novelization by Mel Odom -- Paperback
Snow Day: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc Home
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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan