Review: Olympic Dreams
The story of the making of Olympic Dreams is often more interesting than the film itself. Shot during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, the film is a the first to gain access to film in the Olympic Village. While they had permission to film there, it is clear their time was limited as scenes appear to be hastily mounted and filmed. This leads to the majority of the dialogue being improvised, something that was probably practical but yields a bland result.
Aside from Nick Kroll, everyone in the film is a real-life Olympic athlete. Structured as a romantic comedy, Kroll plays a dentist, Ezra, who begins to fall for Penelope (Alexi Pappas), a cross-country skier. Pappas in real life is a track-and-field star. It is an odd choice given how seldom the film utilizes her athletic ability. For most of the runtime, the film has her hang out with Ezra as the two talk about very little. The only dramatic conflict comes from a kiss that isn't returned.
Olympic Dreams is clearly influenced by Lost in Translation. It often has the same feeling of two people finding themselves while lost over seas. However it has none of the same magic. The film is dull. It is a shame because Kroll can be very entertaining and the access to the Olympics could have made this something special. Perhaps the dramatic tone of the film doesn't work with his comedic talents. The improvised nature of this project keeps the film from having any memorable moments as its actors seem to be constantly searching for something to talk about.