Hot Dog…The Movie (1984)

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There is a familiar, but sad, feeling that we comedy fans know too well. Look at the cover above – the bright colours, the wacky hijinx being hijinked, you might reasonably assume you’re watching a comedy. As events roll on, though, that feeling overtakes you, the feeling that you’re watching a drama with a few OTT caricatures in it. “Hot Dog” is perhaps the perfect example of this, but don’t stop reading yet! I’ve got to tell you about the “original” plot and racism!

Freestyle skiing was all the rage at the time (this being a few years before snowboarding would muscle in on their action). To a European brought up on classic Alpine skiing, it all looks a little sily, with the little humps and jumps, but I’ll let it slide. Anyway, it’s a big televised tournament, with all the sponsorship coming from Europe, so there’s a large Eurotrash contingent there, chief of which is Rudi, who comes complete with ludicrous hair and a fur coat.

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Our “hero”, Harkin, drives into town to compete, bringing with him Sunny, a hitchhiker he picked up along the way. They fall in love, sort of, but he’s a sensible rational human being and she’s a druggie flake, so there’s problems. Plus Shannon Tweed, pre-teeth alignment but post-Playboy, as…not really sure. I think she’s some rich skiing groupie or something. Who cares? She’s the other third of the incredibly predictable love triangle.

Add to this already spicy concoction the Rad Pack, a wacky multi-ethnic group of party skiiers, and you’ve got a recipe for a good time. Well, a time. They’re clearly supposed to be funny but just come across as loud drunks, but they’re also good friends and yada yada yada.

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It’s just so…nothing. Every movement of the plot is obvious, every character an empty shell, and the makers of the movie don’t seem to have any respect for their audience, assuming “snow movie!” would be enough to draw in the crowds. Perfect example is the tiltiing of the footage to make it look steeper than it is, but they leave the trees in the background, which now all appear to be suffering from some horrible disease.

The plot isn’t the normal “our resort is in trouble” snow movie plot, so there’s that, but lots of films have original plots and still suck, and this is one of them. Probably not even worthwhile if it’s a choice between this and staring at the standby light on your TV.

Rating: thumbs down

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