×

Frost

Nick Hornby would know what to do with a bachelor like Jack Frost -- after all, such emotionally stunted thirtysomethings come to their senses in "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy," two Hornby adaptations first-time director Steve Clark surely had in mind when fashioning his own man-child-makes-good fable, "Frost."

With:
With: Jason Behr, Monet Mazur, Lucy Gordon, Krysten Ritter, India Ennenga, Mike Landry.

Nick Hornby would know what to do with a bachelor like Jack Frost — after all, such emotionally stunted thirtysomethings come to their senses in “High Fidelity” and “About a Boy,” two Hornby adaptations first-time director Steve Clark surely had in mind when fashioning his own man-child-makes-good fable, “Frost.” Though the transformation is basically the same, pic plays it cute, making the character’s existential crisis about as convincing as his name. This reluctant playboy role could be a breakout one for former “Roswell” star Jason Behr, though pat indie pic will have to find a receptive audience first.

What “Frost” lacks in movie stars it makes up for in leggy, Maxim-worthy actresses, who parade through the revolving doors of Jack’s Manhattan apartment building. Surrounded by knockouts determined to tame him, from fun-loving heroin junkie Ozzy (Krysten Ritter) to judgmental journalist Kate (Lucy Gordon), Jack rarely sleeps alone.

Popular on Variety

However, their efforts are in vain, since Jack remains fixated on his grade-school crush, Caroline (Monet Mazur), now engaged to someone else. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way, Jack huffs. As kids, the pair made promises to wed one day, which we see re-enacted in flickering birthday-party flashbacks.

Jack even wrote a novel to show his love, which Caroline, a book editor, published but otherwise failed to acknowledge. That was seven years ago, and since then, Jack’s been lost in a “sexual hurricane,” using a series of one-night stands to numb the pain of unrequited love.

His best friend Scotch (Mike Landry) would kill for some of Jack’s luck with the ladies, serving as both comic foil and boorish counterpoint to Behr’s ultra-sensitive bachelorhood. A little edge would have gone a long way toward deepening Jack’s character, and though the material is leagues beyond anything Behr’s been asked to do before, he resorts to channeling Tom Cruise (fingers to temples, eyes squinting, jaw meaningfully clenched) to telegraph the character’s inner turmoil — not especially convincing, but sure to slay the ladies.

The only person who really gets Jack is 11-year-old neighbor Sophie (India Ennenga) — a pre-pubescent fairy princess sent in to remind us that Jack Frost’s maturity level is frozen at roughly the same age. With her sideways smile and sympathetic eyes, Ennenga is wonderfully comfortable on camera, and scenes in which she coaches our puppy-dog hero are a delight, however implausible.

The grown women, by contrast, are sexy enough, but none seems quite right for Jack, which breeds impatience while the poor guy sorts out his self-centered agenda.

Though Jack himself is incredibly earnest, the process of watching him outgrow his Peter Pan complex feels mushy and mostly contrived, and seems inspired more by similar films (with debts not only to Hornby but also to Cameron Crowe’s oeuvre) than by personal experience.

On-the-nose song choices fit a little too snugly, as do many of “Frost’s” life lessons. With its gorgeous cast and sharp HD lensing, Gotham-based production looks polished and makes good use of the city.

Frost

Production: A Black Note Films, CPlus presentation. Produced by Mike Landry, Carlos Velazquez, Steve Clark, Terry Leonard. Executive producers, Sean Campbell, Ian B. Wile. Co-executive producer, Sebastian Nicolas. Directed by Steve Clark. Screenplay, Clark, Thomas Moffett.

Crew: Camera (HD), Brian Burgoyne; editor, Connor Kalista; music, Peter Bradley Adams; music supervisor, Stephanie Diaz-Matos; production designer/costume designer, Amanda Ford; sound, Eben Baume; associate producer, Moffett; assistant director, Atilla Ucer; casting, Eve Battaglia. Reviewed at Sony Studios, Culver City, Jan. 9, 2008. (In Slamdance Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Jason Behr, Monet Mazur, Lucy Gordon, Krysten Ritter, India Ennenga, Mike Landry.

More Film

  • Parasite Movie

    'Parasite' Enjoys Record Box Office Boost After Oscar Wins

    Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” is reaping box office riches after its groundbreaking Oscar best picture win. The twisted South Korean thriller collected $5.5 million over the weekend, an exceptional 234% increase in ticket sales and the biggest post-Oscar boost for a best picture winner in the past decade. In the seven days since the Academy [...]

  • Nikita Pearl Waligwa

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, Actor in Disney's 'Queen of Katwe,' Dies at 15

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, an actor who appeared in Disney’s biographical drama “Queen of Katwe,” has died, according to BBC and the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor. She was 15. Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 and seemed to recover a year later. However, in 2019, another tumor was found. “Queen of Katwe” [...]

  • James Marsden and Sonic (Ben Schwartz)

    'Sonic the Hedgehog' Dominates Box Office With Mighty $57 Million Debut

    Paramount’s family film “Sonic the Hedgehog” ignited over Presidents’ Day weekend with $57 million in North America and $100 million globally, the biggest showing ever for a video game adaptation. “Sonic” is expected to earn $68-70 million through Monday, one of the best results for the holiday weekend. The better-than-expected start is even more notable [...]

  • Shaun the sheep

    How '80s Sci-Fi Films Inspired 'Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon'

    Shaun, everyone’s favorite sheep, is back, and this time he’s facing aliens and robots in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.” Directors Will Becher and Richard Phelan teamed together on this film for their first full-length collaboration. While the two have been working at Aardman Studios, Phelan’s background was as a story artist and Becher’s [...]

  • Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE

    Box Office: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Speeding to $65 Million Opening Weekend

    “Sonic the Hedgehog” is speeding to a $65 million opening at the North American box office this President’s Day weekend, according to estimates. Paramount’s action-adventure, based on the Sega video game character, had been pegged to generate $40-45 million prior to its launch. Should estimates hold, it could break the $54 million record set last [...]

  • China Trade War Illustration Variety

    IFTA Says U.S. Should Punish China for Cheating on Film Trade Deal

    The Independent Film & Television Alliance has filed a complaint to the U.S. Trade Representative, calling for the U.S. government to keep China on its Priority Watch List and to monitor China under Section 306 of the Trade Act. The IFTA lobby group, which represents American and international independent film companies, argues that China is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content