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By Phil Hall | January 20, 2008

“Frost” is billed as a “dark comedy” and that’s half correct – it certainly is dark, thanks to murky cinematography that plays up shadows and desaturates colors to the point that the film becomes borderline monochrome.

But a comedy? There’s barely a smirk to be generated by this dismal tale of an immature New York writer named Jack Frost, who is surrounded by an endless parade of gorgeous models and would-be actresses who seem to exist solely to drink, make small talk, and
get tutored in carnal knowledge. At one point, Jack is pursued by a magazine writer who claims to be authoring an article about New York’s “playboys” (the film’s original title was “The Last International Playboy”). It seems Jack is the 21st century’s equivalent to Warren Beatty (who knew?).

Despite being the center of female attention, Jack is frosted to learn his childhood love (and current book editor) is engaged to another writer. But can that development make this downtown Peter Pan grow up? And can he exorcise demons that haunt his existence (in between his boozing, bedroom romps and clubbing, of course)?

“Frost” defrosts at too many levels. In the title role, one-time “Roswell” star Jason Behr lacks the charisma to make Jack an interesting character. For someone who is supposedly a famous writer, Jack is too busy having fun to string a sentence together (that will come as a surprise for those of us who have to pound the keyboard for a living). Surrounding a good looking guy like Behr with a bunch of hot babes will satisfy the eye candy gluttons. But in this film, all play and no work makes Jack a dull boy.

What else doesn’t work? Well, Steve Clark’s direction is too monotonous and stiff to keep viewer interest. And the screenplay is packed with annoying stock characters that came straight out of Bad Writing 101: the dizzy actress with an itty-bitty heroin problem, the boorish and beefy oversexed best friend whose loutish personality is exceeded only by his girth, the sweet and innocent kiddies who hop and skip through irritating flashback sequences, and the too-wise-for-her-youth little girl neighbor who inserts herself into Jack’s life as a combination sidekick-counselor (think of Dakota Fanning pretending to be Molly Picon and you get the picture).

And anyone who is even vaguely aware of New York’s literary high society – even from a casual thumbing of the New York Times’ Sunday Styles section – will realize this film is all posing and no pulse. “Frost” needs to go back in the oven – it’s barely half-cooked.

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