Perhaps there is a romantic comedy — albeit a terrible one — struggling to rise from “The Mountain Between Us,” a melodrama that wastes Kate Winslet and Idris Elba in its leading roles. This contrived romance is full of little comical asides in its dialogue, as though one-liners might save this couple from freezing to death.
Winslet is Alex, a photojournalist who is trying to get back for her wedding the next day. Ben is a neurosurgeon traveling to a medical conference to try to save a patient.
The two end up being stranded in a snowstorm in an Idaho airport, where they charter a private plane to get to New York.
Beau Bridges is the pilot, who, along with his cute dog, takes the two aboard then has a stroke and crashes. You’ve seen what ensues from the trailers, probably. Suffice it to say things go from bad to worse.
Of course, there is no cell phone service and Ben’s phone battery is almost gone. Their supplies are few. The two wait around for quite some time to be rescued. Ultimately, with the dog trotting beside them, they set off to face the elements in the snowy wilderness.
Alex and Ben bicker constantly — see, the plane crash is what is known as a “meet cute” in a romantic comedy — and then try to joke around between arguments. In the meantime, Alex noses around in Ben’s belongings to find out more about his past. Because, hey, that’s what you’d focus on when you were close to dying in the cold.
If you absolutely must see this thing — it admittedly has all the trappings of a real movie, including a rather pretty score, so I can sense your skepticism of its poor quality — I feel that I cannot reveal most of the coincidences and contrivances that paper-clip this story together.
It just isn’t fair to write spoilers, even for a movie as wildly awful as this. But I am entitled to ask you questions: What dangers might lurk in the wilderness? And if you were really desperate, trekking along in the cold as you faced certain death, what would you like to find? I don’t remember the last time I saw such a predictable story.
To be sure, the cinematography is beautiful, and the star power remains intact. But I never believed any of this after the first 10 or so minutes.
If you want to see an excellent person-against-the-great-outdoors yarn, rent the Robert Redford drama “All is Lost.” Give this one sudsy shenanigans the cold shoulder.