Here’s a guaranteed good time, for all the wrong reasons

Film | Jorge Ignacio Castillo

The Mountain Between Us
Opens Friday 6

2 out of 5

There are two movies combined in The Mountain Between Us: one is a mildly competent action flick. The other is a sub-Nicholas Sparks romantic drama. Together … they don’t mesh at all.

Marquee names Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are wasted as the token characters Doctor and Journalist. The strangers are forced to take a charter plane to cross the Rockies to return to their very busy lives: he has operations to perform! She’s getting married the next day!

Crash, boom, bang, the plane ends up in the middle of nowhere. Doctor and Journalist are injured, but alive. The reporter thinks they need to move to survive (she is reckless!), but the physician believes they need to stay near the wreckage until rescued (he is cautious!).

With death around every corner, the pair come to depend of each other and — as Sandra Bullock taught us in Speed — extreme situations lead to ill-conceived relationships.

The Mountain Between Us is not entirely awful and not just because the dialogue is laughable (what happened, Chris Weitz?). The stunts are well-executed. The problem is the connective tissue. Elba and Winslet are normally excellent, but not even they can overcome paper-thin roles. The last 20 minutes are soap opera level, but very funny if you haven’t taken the movie seriously. Never mind they’ve been exposed to the elements for days — they look hook-up-ready as they sexily struggle to survive.

In a cheap bit of emotional manipulation, the pilot’s dog survives the crash and doesn’t get eaten, even when asking for it. The single good idea in this film adaptation is changing the doctor’s name from “Payne” to “Bass”. Thank goodness they draw the line at puns. ❧