Ski Patrol

Ski Patrol. Epic Productions 1990.

Before watching the movie:

I suspect that the reason the summaries I’ve seen of this are very limited is because it’s more in the style of a collection of skits vaguely assembled around a plot like most other farces. They don’t seem to think the story is nearly as important to sell it as “this has a connection to Police Academy! You like Police Academy, you’ll probably like this!”

George Lopez was the most prominent name I saw at first, but after digging a little deeper, I found credits pulled for Ray Walston and Martin Mull, which interest me more than George Lopez, who is fine but not somebody who really gets my attention.

The actual premise about a hapless ski patrol trying to fight back against a plot to get the resort owners’ permit removed so a ski school can take control seems a little confusing and hopefully the movie will provide more context about why all the players are related the way they are.

After watching the movie:

The Snowy Peaks ski resort has been operated by Pops for 40 years, but his lease from the park service has come up for renewal, so the resort and its safety crew the ski patrol need to be in excellent form. The leader of the ski patrol is Jerry, whose main characteristics are that he’s amazing at skiing and crazy for Ellen, Pops’s niece, who is a ski instructor. Also on the team are Stanley, who has been failing to make the cut to actually be a member of the patrol for seven years, Eddie, the demolitions expert tasked with controlling avalanches, and Iceman, whose real passion is singing. Wealthy developer Sam Maris schemes with trainers from the elitist ski school that… also operates on the mountain? but isn’t who Ellen works for? to sabotage the ski patrol’s evaluation so that Pops loses his lease and Maris can swoop in and build his own resort which is somehow going to be potentially the most lucrative business in the world.

While many of the main characters have their throughlines, as I expected, this is oriented around comedy/action scenes more than plot. The bully ski instructors get Eddie arrested the night before the evaluation and the consequence of this is… Iceman and Stanley enter a talent show for bail with Stanley in drag. Maris’s goons don’t even have to be involved to cause chaos, as there are crazy resort guests and the patrol play a long game prank on their strict training and regulatory compliance master Murray.

While they don’t go so far as to credit Walston and Mull as Special Appearances, they are barely in the movie to the point where that might have been appropriate. That contributes to a feeling like what Caddyshack was going for before the big stars cast as the country club members took over the movie. The only member of the patrol I recognize is George Lopez (though Paul Feig is now a well known director and I guess I’ve seen some of his other roles), and he has a minor role in what is probably very early in his movie career.

The Police Academy connection is overblown. There’s a good number of jokes here and there, but it’s not very consistent. The story hit its marks, I got to see Ray Walston be everybody’s granddad and Martin Mull be a slimy businessman, and the impression I’m left with is, that was a decent way to spend an hour and a half.

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