When it’s not too busy with a skiing montage (and it’s almost never too busy for that), Hot Dog… The Movie has its fun degrading women and giving the audience a bit more exposition every so often. Twenty minutes in, and we have received about three minutes of necessary plot. Ten minutes after that, there’s maybe another few seconds. Five minutes after that, we get a full minute or so of expository dialogue, finally establishing the nuances of a young kid entering a ski competition in which the Europeans are favored.

That’s the extent of the plot, which also features a group of American (and one Japanese) skiers who have dubbed themselves the Rat Pack. They don’t even deserve to be associated with the Brat Pack.

Harkin Banks (Patrick Houser) is the new guy to their group, a farmer who has raised up enough money to compete for fun/glory/money. The motive doesn’t matter, only that he gets there. First he picks up a hitchhiker who’s booted from a truck while Harkin is stopped at a gas station to ask for directions.

Her name is Sunny (Tracy Smith), and she has grown up in a vacuum. When Harkin asks if she’s running away from home, she tells him she doesn’t have a home from which to run away. This and the fact that she wouldn’t provide sexual favors to her previous ride are the extent of characterization for Sunny. Take a wild guess if she’ll maintain that rule for our skiing farm-boy hero.

They drive, she mentions her non-home-life, they stop at a motel, drive some more, and finally arrive at the resort. When they arrive, first they relax on the heart-shaped waterbed and have a laugh at heart-shaped tub, then they finally get down to eating dinner. At the restaurant, Harkin meets two important plot devices: a villain in the form of German skier Rudolph Garmisch (John Patrick Reger, clearly not German in name or ridiculous accent) and a comrade in arms who knows the ropes of the resort and competition named Dan O’Callahan (David Naughton). We still haven’t learned anything of value neither about Harkin, Sunny, or anyone for that matter nor the competition itself.

Even after this, the movie dodges its plot, bringing its group of American misfits to a wet T-shirt contest (featuring a woman faux-fellating a beer bottle), a party (featuring an extended cocktail mixing session that only has the purpose of resulting in a rape joke), and finally to the competition (featuring slow motion shots, multiple jumps seen from the same angles, and ski ballet). A subplot involving Sunny seeing Harkin have sex with a skier played by former Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed only heightens the movie’s sexist outlook, especially when Sunny decides she wants Harkin back. Why? Because he’s a good skier, of course.

The skiing is repetitive, the jokes fall flat, the partying is a distraction, and Hot Dog… The Movie is an annoying waste of time.

Note: Piece of random trivia: Continuing a food-in-title fetish, screenwriter and ski sequence director Mike Marvin would later go on to direct Hamburger: The Motion Picture (1986), which uses proper punctuation in its title.

Mark Dujsik is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society. For more of his reviews, visit his website.

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