Snow Day

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From the folks who brought us the offbeat “Pete and Pete” on Nickelodeon comes this tolerable, mostly harmless film about the magic of a “snow day” — when Jack Frost causes the schools to close, bringing about a sudden, unexpected holiday on which, according to the film, “anything can happen.”

(I don’t know if this theory is meteorologically sound, but the film hangs everything it has on it.)

Ten-year-old Natalie Brandston (Zena Grey) looks forward to a snow day the way Christians look for the Second Coming: She knows it will come, and if it doesn’t, her life has no meaning. Fortunately, it comes (the snow day, not the Second Coming), giving her and her pals a chance to finally thwart the snow-day-destorying Snowplow Man (Chris Elliott), who, it is rumored, makes the snow chains on his tires out of the braces of kids he’s run over.

Meanwhile, Nat’s older brother Hal (Mark Webber) wants to impress the high school hottie Claire (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who’s been wasting her time with a clod named Chuck.

And more meanwhile, Nat and Hal’s dad (Chevy Chase) is a dignity-free weatherman who wants to prove that he’s actually better than the most popular meteorologist in the area (John Schneider — Bo, from “Dukes of Hazzard”).

The film is highly enjoyable for kids, as it shows them living out various harmless fantasies: Winning the girl of your dreams, driving the snowplow, getting a SECOND snow day, etc., etc. It also contains several flatulence jokes, which the kids these days seem to love.

There are some moments of genuine inspiration, like Iggy Pop as an ice-skating rink DJ who only wants to play Al Martino music (songs so boring that one kid actually falls asleep while skating). Some of Chevy Chase’s moments remind us that he was, at one time, a pretty great comic actor.

The kid actors are pretty good, too, showing some real promise for the future. The film occasionally even gets a little heart-warming, and though parents might find the movie about 20 minutes too long, it won’t try their patience too much.

B (; PG, some vulgarity.)

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