1989, Epic Productions
Philip B. Goldfine
Wink Roberts (story)
Steven Long Mitchell (story and screenplay)
Craig W. Van Sickle (story and screenplay)
Roger Rose (Jerry)
Yvette Nipar (Ellen)
T.K. Carter (Iceman)
Leslie Jordan (Murray)
Paul Feig (Stanley)
Sean Gregory Sullivan (Suicide)
George Lopez (Eddie)
Stephen Hytner (Myron)
Corbin Timbrook (Lance)
Martin Mull (Maris)
Ray Walston (Pops)
From the producer of the Police Academy franchise comes this underrated comedy that brings a motley crew together on the ski slopes.
Snowy Peaks Lodge is preparing for their lease renewal and the lodge’s beloved ski patrol are back. Jerry, Iceman, Eddie, and Ellen are joined by foreign newcomer Tiana, the nerdy Stanley, who has failed on numerous occasions to be an official member of the team; and are led by the diminutive and stern Murray with lodge owner Pops, who is celebrating forty years since building the lodge. However, someone has other plans in mind and that man is unscrupulous businessman Sam Maris.
Maris plots with ski school instructor Lance, who’s had a rivalry with Jerry for years, to sabotage the lodge. Maris plans to tear the lodge down and create his own little town for skiiers and the like. When the inspector begins to see numerous violations and tickets Pops, the ski patrol must endure all they can to ensure the lodge is kept intact in hopes to keep it open for another forty years. Will they be successful or will they fall to Maris and the snobby ski school instructors?
With the Police Academy series running out of steam in 1989, franchise producer Paul Maslansky came upon a possible solution for perhaps another franchise to replace the motley crew of cops. Enter this underrated comedy that features an ensemble cast whose most famous figure at the time is perhaps T.K. Carter, a hilarious comedian and voice actor who is best known for cartoons such as Turbo Teen and comedies such as He’s My Girl.
The film would also feature two names who would become major players in the comedy world today. The first is director Paul Feig, who plays the nerdy Stanley who while not being an official member of the patrol, is seen more like an honorary member of the team and not like a mascot. He even shows off some pretty impressive dance skills, when not doubled for certain bits. The other is George Lopez, who makes his film debut as patrol member Eddie, the resident explosives expert. He tries to match Carter in a Rodney Dangerfield impression in his opening scene but doesn’t go as planned. In another funny role is that of Murray, played by the hilarious Leslie Jordan, who gets picked on due to his size. Jordan and Feig would eventually appear at times together on the hit TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Veterans Martin Mull and Ray Walston round out the cast in the roles of the villainous Maris and respected lodge owner Pops. As for lead Roger Rose, he works well with the cast as ski patrol’s respected vet Jerry, who constantly pines for Pops’ niece Ellen, played by Yvette Nipar while he has a constant rivalry with the arrogant ski school instructor Lance and his minions. While the comic geniuses are hard at work in the film with the gags they have, Rose is truly the heart of the group and it is a shame we never saw a Ski Patrol 2 because one can only be sure it would have been just as funny.
Yet, the only flaw comes in the form of resident troublemaker Suicide, who seems to suffer from multiple personality disorder and by today’s standards, it’s not exactly funny but for this film, it’s pretty much okay to let it go this one time.
Ski Patrol is a fun ripoff or even attempt to bring something the original Police Academy did and while ultimately upon its release, people forgot about it, by today’s standards, it’s pretty underrated and has the notoriety of having comedy director Feig and comic genius Lopez in their film debuts.
WFG RATING: B+