Sometimes I’ll watch The Spirit of Christmas in July just to see Thomas Beaudoin play a sexy ghost because he is that bewitching. I won’t be doing that for his movie Love on the Slopes though and in fact have no plans to watch it again. While Beaudoin may look smart in layers of puffer coat, he lacks the energy and sassiness that made his previous film so fun. But some things can’t be pinned on the actor, and the story is really at fault, failing to live up to the excitement of its extreme sports backdrop.
Most of the action takes place in Colorado’s snowy Ridgeline Resort, home to Beaudoin’s character, Cole. The reclusive nature and extreme sports photographer doubles as an activity guide when travel writer Alex (Katrina Bowden) crashes into town. She hopes to do a feature on extreme sports, one that will get her a permanent writing job at the magazine where she currently works. The problem is that Alex is afraid of, well, life, and that makes her assignment a challenge. Also she’s dating vanilla investment banker Barton (Anthony Konechny), complicating her deepening relationship with live-in-the-moment Cole.
I get that Alex’s journey is one from timid copy editor to life-embracing adventurer and that this is about more than just getting the job. It’s hard for me to get onboard, however, when her character is so frustrating and unconvincing. What aspiring travel writer thinks a profile on a romantic New England B&B will make a captivating cover story or that bedazzled tennis shoes are appropriate footwear for rock climbing? Alex is someone in love with the idea of traveling, not in actual traveling. Her character needs a dose of realism and it would be nice to see her taking risks in at least some aspects of her life.
Cole struggles to get past his comfort zone too though, but the movie doesn’t allow his story to take shape. While he’s admired by everyone in town, he suffers from social anxiety and isn’t looking forward to an important meet-and-greet at his gallery. Cole alludes to some of the reasons why he’s more withdrawn, but many things about his character remain hidden. A scene or two where he opens up about his breakup or interacts with a child at his sports charity would have been revealing. Instead, the man kind of disappears into the great outdoors.
That vast wilderness is one the highlight of the movie since neither the characters nor their bland romance hold much attention. The film features some breathtaking shots of this Ridgeline, and I always appreciate it when Hallmark widens the lens so that we get to see something outside of Little Shops on Main Street, Small Town, USA. I almost felt compelled to hike to an icy waterfall or zipline over a snow-covered ravine. The movie also includes some action sequences, by which I mean filmmakers attached a GoPro to a snow tube. There thrills are fleeting, however, just like any good feelings I have about Love on the Slopes.
Dir: Paul Ziller
Writer: Kristen Hansen
Cast: Katrina Bowden, Thomas Beaudoin, Elysia Rotaru, Anthony Konechny, Corey woods, Chris Shields
Time: 83 min
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel