Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Have we grown so desperate for vicarious cheap thrills that the simple love story is done for? Is it no longer possible to have a movie in which two young people meet in the first reel, smooch in the third, get married in the seventh, and disappear into the sunset as we disappear down the aisles?
The latest occasion for these questions is a movie called "Ice Castles," which is, about an Olympic-bound young figure skater and the boy who loves her. So far, so good, except that halfway through the movie the girl is injured in an accident and loses almost all her sight. Then, supported by his love, she stages a comeback, skates in the finals while concealing her blindness -- and fools everyone until she trips over the roses they've thrown onto the ice.
Call me Scrooge; stories like this make me cringe. I don't deny the bravery of the characters being portrayed -- I just object to the emotional bankruptcy of the people making the movies. I sit there in the dark and I think of "Love Story," with the girl dying at the end, and "The Other Side of the Mountain," with the Olympic ski champion being paralyzed, and "The Other Side of the Mountain, Part Two," where she finds true love even so, and "Uncle Joe Shannon," where the kid was not only an orphan but had to have his leg amputated, and I ask myself: Is it possible to find true love these days outside of the hospital?
One of the melancholy aspects of "Ice Castles" is the quality of talent that's been brought to such an unhappy enterprise. Lynn-Holly Johnson, who plays the figure skater, is an appealing young woman who actually happens to be a good skater who can act. Robby Benson, as her boy friend, is always an engaging performer; remember him in "One on One"? The supporting cast includes the irreplaceable Colleen Dewhurst as the local coach, and Tom ("MASH") Skerritt as the girl's father. There's also a brief role (as a hard-boiled coach) for the fascinating actress Jennifer Warren, who was electrifying in "Night Moves" and never seems to get the roles she deserves.