John Cusack plays a Northern California teenager who finds himself lost after his girlfriend dumps him for the captain of the ski team. Between half-hearted suicide attempts, he hatches a plan to win her back. He’ll ski the notorious K-12 slope.
Cusack’s deadpan performance proves the perfect straight man for writer/director Savage Steve Holland’s blend of teen angst, black comedy, and outright absurdity. He’s vulnerable enough to evoke our sympathy but detached enough to allow us to laugh.
Sure, the film drags when Holland catches his breath between bits and the climactic ski scene underwhelms, but the sheer originality resonates. The Howard Cosell drag racers, the relentless paperboy, and the running joke where everyone wants to ask out Cusack’s ex. It’s been making me laugh for over thirty years.