Retro Review: Ice Harvest

“Pushing Tin” co-stars John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton re-team for the dark comedy, “The Ice Harvest”.

Cusack plays Charlie Arglist, who is an attorney in Wichita, Kansas and has just embezzled $2 million dollars.

Together with his partner, Vic (Billy Bob Thornton), Charlie plans on leaving Wichita forever on Christmas Eve. The only problem is can he get out of Wichita during one of the coldest nights of the year.

Standing in Charlie’s way is the irate Kansas City mob boss Bill Guerrard (Randy Quaid) whom Charlie stole the money from. Other problems for Charlie is that he is in love with a sexy ice-cold strip-club owner, Renata (Connie Nielsen) and his tormented drinking buddy Pete (Oliver Platt), needs a lift home to Charlie’s ex-wife’s place.

On paper, the talent involved and having a seasoned comedy director like Harold Ramis at the helm, you know this picture looks to be special. Then why is it so horribly rotten?

We have seen so many dark mob comedies in recent years that the plot itself seems contrived. Cusack is out-of-his-mind bored in this picture, Thornton is just waiting to cash his cheque and Randy Quaid screams a little. The only performances I enjoyed was the always drunk Oliver Platt and the steely but sexy Connie Nielsen who were perfectly cast in their roles.

As I sat and watched every shred of dignity evaporate from this train-wreck of a film, I remembered back to 1994 and a little Nicolas Cage comedy called “Trapped in Paradise” which for me was very similar in plot and oozed charm. In that film, three dim-witted brothers are stuck in a small town during the holidays after robbing the town’s bank.

The reason that film sang so well is because the characters grew and the plot amplified the characters and the film. It was also quite funny.

In “The Ice Harvest”, the film’s characters never grow as people before one has to die. Then there is the obvious problem that every one in this film is either a sobering imbecile or a blood-thirsty killer. The film is just horrible on so many levels.

When it comes to this film, I can say from the deepest part of my soul that all the funny parts are in the trailer.

(1.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

2 thoughts on “Retro Review: Ice Harvest

  1. I’m glad someone else disliked “Ice Harvest.” Now I’m a fan of dark comedies, but to me this one was missing something called … oh, what’s the bleedin’ word? … oh, right, COMEDY. It was missing COMEDY. There was blood and gore and irony but no funny.

    1. Hi Meredith… Yeah I kind of despise Ice Harvest… such a waste of talent… if you want John Cusack in this kind of role you have to choose Grosse Pointe Blank now there was a movie I could get behind… Also thanks so much for supporting my blog… I love getting all your comments… Makes me believe I am not the only obsessed moviephile out there!

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