Snow-covered Colorado furnishes the material and backdrop for a cancer-stricken boy’s bid for immortality in freshman writer-director Robert Kirbyson’s sententious family comedy. Formerly callous students unite to put their dying classmate in the Guinness World Records, helping him build thousands of snowmen. Pic narrowly avoids outright bathos, thanks largely to first-rate perfs by its child thesps and by Ray Liotta. But by self-righteously rejecting facile solutions, then employing them anyway in the tradition of “no ending left behind,” the result conforms to parents’ old-fashioned notions of kid movies rather than demonstrating true kid appeal.
Bald-pated Billy (Bobby Coleman, essaying goofy pathos), best friend Lucas (scene-stealing Christian Martyn) and new Jamaican neighbor Howard (Bobb’e J. Thompson) come upon a frozen corpse while constructing a snow fort. Their discovery inseparably bonds them and causes Billy to rethink his imminent demise. Taking cues from his dad (Liotta), a used-car dealer whose outrageous commercials and blatant self-promotion turn out to be providing revenue for mountainous hospital bills (everyone gets redeemed, even the misunderstood class bully), Billy et al. organize a snowman-manufacturing send-off with entrepreneurial panache.