Reno and the Doc (1984)

Article 4013 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-25-2012
Directed by Charles Dennis
Featuring Kenneth Welsh, Henry Ramer, Linda Griffiths
Country: Canada
What it is: Comedy

A con man hooks up with a solitary middle-aged country man who happens to be an excellent skier. He talks the man into becoming a champion skiing competitor.

The fantastic content is that the con man and the country skier have a psychic bond somewhat similar to that of the Corsican brothers. The reason I didn’t mention that detail in the plot description is that, despite the fact that it does play a bit of a role in the story that follows, it nevertheless remains less of a “plot driver” and more of an “odd touch”. There’s a few other odd touches as well, such as a woman who suffers from oral dyslexia and the skier’s ongoing feud with a group of eccentrics known as the Kukamungas. These odd touches might have gone a ways towards jazzing up the rather tired story line of an unhappy loner being pulled out of his comfort zone so he can eventually gain confidence and self-reliance. Unfortunately, the direction, the acting, the score, the editing, etc. all seem to be in the hands of people who seem only interested in pulling in the paycheck; the movie is so lacking in inspiration and spirit that it seems to evaporate right in front of your eyes. As a result, despite the feel-good ending of it all, I emerged feeling more vaguely depressed than anything else. The odd touches simply can’t redeem a movie this spiritless.


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