Snow Day review

This demographically diverse comedy has gone great guns in the States, despite having no star names (except, um, Chevy Chase) and the barest minimum of jokes or action. Perhaps our friends across the Pond are getting tired of three-hour Oscar hopefuls clogging up their multiplexes. Or maybe they just couldn't get tickets for Toy Story 2.

It could be down to many factors, but originality sure isn't one of them. Chase's world-weary weatherman is a direct copy of Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day. The teenage romance is a shameless steal from Some Kind Of Wonderful, with Schuyler Fisk in the Mary Stuart Masterson role. And if Zena Grey's battle with Chris Elliot's Plowman doesn't remind you of Home Alone, you'll soon twig once she starts ripping off Macaulay Culkin's yells.

With so many different plot strands vying for attention, it's hardly surprising that some become lost. Jean Smart comes off worst as Chase's career-conscious spouse, who's too busy at work to spend "quality time" with her hyperactive toddler. But it doesn't take long for her to see the light: about 20 minutes, in fact, after which she disappears from view.

Chase has rather more to do: delivering a weather forecast in a grass skirt, tobogganing down a hillside in a snowman outfit and bringing his slick nemesis down a couple of pegs. But he, too, is obliged to play second fiddle to his younger co-stars. Junior cinema-goers will relish the many humiliations Elliot is forced to endure, while adults can pass the time wondering what made Pam Grier accept the thankless role of Chevy's producer, or why Iggy Pop pops up as an ice rink owner.

More importantly, they'll be thinking: whatever happened to Tom Wopat, who played John Schneider's brother in The Dukes Of Hazzard?

This Nickelodeon production will melt from your memory faster than a snowman in a heatwave. The quirky plot only holds the interest momentarily, while the eclectic cast barely compensates for the disjointed structure and second-hand story.

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