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MiraJeff wants to whack THE ICE HARVEST!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with MiraJeff's review of Harold Ramis' THE ICE HARVEST. He didn't like the flick very much. While I don't think the movie is a classic, it's certainly not as shitty as MiraJeff says it is... at least in my opinion. Although I do agree with him about Oliver Platt stealing the movie. Platt rules. Anyway, here's MiraJeff's review!

Greetings AICN, MiraJeff here with a look at Harold Ramis’ latest offering, The Ice Harvest. Although it’s true that Ramis is one of comedy’s most gifted minds, his latest caper is a serious misfire. The Ice Harvest follows Charlie (John Cusack) and Vic (Billy Bob Thornton) as they rob a bank of 2 million dollars and change on Christmas Eve. They do this using paperwork, not guns or anything crazy. Their hope is to lay low and act like everything is normal for the rest of the night, and then split the next day, when everyone is too busy opening presents to notice a couple million missing. Charlie is one of those crooked lawyer types who can always be found lurking around a strip club. He’s been planning this heist for a while, and despite having the brains to pull it off, he doesn’t have the balls to go through with it. And that’s where Vic comes in. They’re both a couple of middle-aged guys full of regrets, with nothing to live for besides money and women. Since Vic’s got the guts that everyone thinks Charlie needs, Charlie must overcome everyone’s low expectations of him in true movie underdog fashion. The film starts out alright, with Cusack standing in a gorgeous frozen field narrating, “there is such a thing as a perfect crime.” But we never see how he pulls it off. Rather than focus on the robbery, which had potential to be interesting, Ramis tries to harvest the comedy of the situation. At first, The Ice Harvest flaunts a sick but subtle sense of humor. For example, when Charlie visits the Sweet Cage, a strip club run by Connie Nielsen, he takes one look at her and orders himself a pineapple juice from the bar. Which is funny, because I hear that pineapple juice makes semen taste sweeter, but that might just be a silly old rumor floating around campus.

The Ice Harvest is a dark comedy that never manages to quite find its footing, plagued by an uneven tone very much like Death to Smoochy. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to laugh at Cusack’s inept criminal or pity him. And in what’s essentially a glorified cameo, Billy Bob plays the same acerbic pessimist he’s been phoning in for a few movies now. It’s like he’s just trying to get extra mileage out of the bitter characters he’s played before. Randy Quaid tries to wrangle some laughs at the end, but by then it’s too late. And why wasn’t this guy in the movie more? What happened in editing? It’s like they abandoned the story from what was supposedly a well-written book, to make time for stuff like Oliver Platt’s character, which despite being the film’s high point, is also beside the point. Not to mention, Connie Nielsen is horribly miscast as a femme fatale, bungling an unplaceable accent like she’s John Malkovich from Rounders or something. She’s reduced to acting like a cheesy phone sex operator, giving a hokey delivery of the stale dialogue Ramis saddles her with. The shining star on top of the tree, the one actor who manages to rise above the mediocre material is Platt, whose performance is best described by Cusack in the film’s press notes as “Falstaffian.” Platt goes on a hilarious Christmas Eve bender, which despite being the funniest thing in the movie, doesn’t seem to really go anywhere. It’s as if the subplot doesn’t even belong in the movie. Platt may be the only reason to go see Ice Harvest, but at what cost? While he makes the movie more enjoyable, it’s still not an enjoyable movie. The only con Cusack really pulls off is robbing you of 10 dollars to see an underwhelming, completely forgettable film. This movie might’ve had a chance if it came out in February, but expect it to drown in a hailstorm of critical backlash. Just because a movie is set around Christmas, doesn’t mean it’s fit for holiday viewing. The Ice Harvest is a cold comedy that is difficult to warm up to. Unless you’re a diehard fan of Ramis, Cusack, or Billy Bob, steer clear of this mess. It’s a harvest that doesn’t yield any good jokes. Well folks, that does it for me until after the holidays. I’m going home to catch the oldest high school football rivalry in the country, and I’ll be back next week with looks at The Kid and I, Transamerica, Pulse, and Grandma’s Boy. ‘Til then, this is MiraJeff bidding adieu…



Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 22, 2005, 3:29 a.m. CST

    "Somebody dock that chink wages for sleeping on the job!"

    by The True Priapic

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 3:41 a.m. CST

    "How did he do such incredible stunts.....with such TINY hands?!

    by The True Priapic

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 4:31 a.m. CST

    Get your quote right doofus

    by DoogieHowitzer

    It's "Dock that Chink a day's PAY for NAPPING on the job" A real racist would know that........damn amatuers.......

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 6:33 a.m. CST

    if its as good as the first two acts of bad santa

    by speed

    then i will be satisfied. this counter programming christmas stuff will hopefully bring some great flicks in the future. And i enjoyed death to smoochy, so i may get some kicks out of this.

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Disappointing, however....

    by Mel Garga

    There is a way to tell if you will agree with a reviewer or not. If the reviewer genuinely enjoyed 'Legends of the Fall,' chances are, I am not going to agree with him on anything. But if he says he hated LotF then he will have instantly made himself a credible film critic and one I'm likely to agree with. The overall point here is that Legends of the Fall was shit.

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Apparently Christmas is evil

    by Citizen Arcane

    Next thing you know, Hollywood will be depicting the suburbs as full of repressed, deranged, criminal sexual deviants.

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Oh, he know's about the pinapple juice.

    by kdoc13

    He knows alright. Don't you Tre-beck!

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 9 a.m. CST

    And he lives in Canton Ohio????

    by kdoc13

    Oldest high school football rivalry in America is Canton McKinley v. Massillon Washington. At least that's what they say in the movie "go Tigers." I never realized that canton is the hub for movie previews.

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 9:03 a.m. CST

    You know, this reviewer seemed more concerned...

    by Childe Roland

    ...with demonstrating how punny he could be than with being genuine in his assessment of the film. Hi attitude was really off putting and makes me want to like this movie more than I already suspect I will (having enjoyed Death to Smoochy and most of the films in both Cusack's and Billy Bob's repertoires) just to be adversarial. I don't doubt that this isn't a knee-slapper in the tradition of Caddyshack, but neither was Pushing Tin and I didn't feel conned out of the money I spent on that. It would be nice if the next person to review the movie would tell us a little about the characters and their individual arcs instead of trying so hard to sound cleverer than thou.

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Please, Hollywood, no more black comedies unless the Cohens helm

    by Lance Rock

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Ice Harvest is not classic but fun, funny

    by Mgmax

    I saw it at the premiere in Chicago last night, introduced by Ramis and with Cusack and Nielsen in attendance, and everyone had a good time. Despite Ramis saying in all his interviews that he wanted to make a darker movie, this remains much more of a black comedy than a true noir and you can imagine another director pushing the same material in a darker, more gutwrenching direction. (You don't really have to imagine that; just read the book, which is darker even though they follow it pretty closely.) But that said, it got more laughs than most comedies do these days; there are a lot of good funny lines and nice dry comic underplaying by Cusack, Thornton, Mike Starr, etc. And jeez, it's only 90 minutes long, which means there's hardly a wasted minute in it, which is a real rarity in these days when most book adaptations of Grisham, Rowling, etc. feel like they need to put every page on screen and bloat up to 150+ minutes. It's not a classic but there's nothing wrong with a solidly crafted movie that delivers 95% of what it sets out to do without getting pretentious; I think most people who go to it will enjoy it just fine.

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Isn't "counterprogramming" just a buzz word that stupid peop

    by Wee Willie

    Despite it's seemingly anti-chrstmas angle, Bad Santa has a very uplifting feel-good ending. The guy was redeemed. By what? By Christmas!!!!

  • Nov. 22, 2005, 5:29 p.m. CST

    I'll Still Go See It.

    by buster00

    A heist caper directed by Ramis starring Cusack & Thornton? Sounds like fun.

  • Nov. 24, 2005, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Mirajeff, You're no Vern!!! But then..

    by Borgnine JR

    ....who is? I think AICN should move to an ALL VERN format.

  • sounds like the reviewer simply doesn't go for, or "get", this type of movie, which pretty much makes them unqualified to review such a movie. i'll bet they didn't laugh when Madsen talked into the cop ear he cut off, with Stuck In the Middle With You playing in the backround, in Resevoir Dogs either. some people just don't have a fully developed sense of humor, lol.