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Abe Sylvia
Jeremy Dozier, Juno Temple, Zach Lasry, Jonathan Slavin, Marcella Lentz-Pope, William Horwich, Gary Grubbs
Writing Credits:
Abe Sylvia

Let them talk.

It's 1987 and Danielle, the high school 'Dirty Girl', is running away. With her is chubby, gay Clarke, a bag of flour called Joan and a Walkman full of glorious '80s tunes.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$17.859 thousand on 9 screens.
Domestic Gross
$53.630 thousand.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 1/10/2012

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Abe Sylvia
• Four Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Preview


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Dirty Girl (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 26, 2012)

Is it sad that the sight of “graphic nudity” listed under a movie’s rating will get me to watch it? Probably, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, so this is what landed 2011’s Dirty Girl in my DVD player.

Set in Oklahoma circa 1987, Danielle Edmonston (Juno Temple) is her high school’s unapologetic “slutty girl”. When her overt sexuality becomes too much for her regular teacher to handle, she gets banished to the “Challengers” program – aka special ed.

That’s where she meets chubby, introverted Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) when they get paired on a project intended to show kids how marriage and parenting work. As a not-terribly-closeted boy in a conservative setting, he suffers from his own ostracization. Though Danielle initially resists the project, she eventually realizes that she needs to pass or she’ll never get back to regular ed, so she cooperates with Clarke. Along the way, the two outcasts bond and eventually go on a quest to find the father that Danielle never knew.

While it manages to be moderately entertaining, Girl loses some points due to its erratic tone. It starts as a hectic replica of an 80s teen comedy that turns into more of a character drama, and that’s fine; I have no problems with the movie’s changes of pace.

However, it integrates these alterations in a fairly awkward way so that they never “make peace” with each other. A moment of broad slapstick will suddenly butt up against heartfelt drama, and the film doesn’t meld the shifts in a smooth manner.

This tends to give Girl a fragmented feel. Rather than come across as a coherent narrative, it provides something more disjointed, as if the script cobbled together a mix of character moments and attempted to coalesce them into a coherent whole. It never does so, which means we’re left with an episodic, clumsy narrative.

Girl also doesn’t do a ton to develop its characters. It tries hardest with the leads, of course, and both Danielle and Clarke do grow as the film progresses. However, this mostly just means they more fully come to terms with their own personalities – and others better accept them as well. While I see growth, it doesn’t come across as especially natural.

The film does boast a pretty terrific cast, though it doesn’t do much with most of them. We find folks like Mary Steenburgen, William H. Macy, Dwight Yoakum and Milla Jovovich here, and they add class to the proceedings. It’s too bad they’re severely underused, though, as they usually feel like afterthoughts. Yeah, I know the movie’s about the kids, but it still seems like a waste to bring in so much talent and do so little with it. One senses that a lot of their work ended up on the cutting room floor.

Temple and Dozier seem more than competent as the leads. Both tend toward a little cartoonishness in their roles, but not to a terrible degree, and they blend together well. Although neither offers great acting, they portray their parts well enough to keep us interested in the characters.

Ultimately I think Dirty Girl delivers a moderately enjoyable “coming of age” flick but not a great one. Though it comes with some strengths, it’s too episodic and sketchy to develop into something more memorable.

By the way, the promise of “graphic nudity” ended up as a major letdown. The only skin comes from full-frontal photos of two unattractive people shown to Clarke in an attempt to gauge his sexual orientation. I was robbed!

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

Dirty Girl appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Given the restrictions of SD-DVD, the film looked pretty good.

For the most part, sharpness looked nice. At times, wider shots tended to be a little soft, but those examples weren’t terribly intrusive. Much of the film appeared pretty accurate and concise. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

In terms of colors, Girl tended to stay with a natural palette. Hues took on a light golden tone at times, but that stylistic choice didn’t overwhelm. Instead, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Overall, this was a pleasing presentation.

I thought that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Girl seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides. Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. Most of the movie stayed with limited imaging, so don’t expect much.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “C+“ but didn’t particularly impress.

When we shift to supplements, we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Abe Sylvia. He provides a running, screen-specific look at cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, music, story/script topics, costumes, hair, and period details, and a few other areas.

Despite a few dead spots, Sylvia’s chat usually keeps us informed and entertained. He touches on the relevant subjects and does so with wit and enthusiasm. The commentary adds to the experience.

Four Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of seven minutes, 41 seconds. These include “Danielle and Clarke Investigate (Extended)” (2:06), “Getting a Room”(1:27), “Family Dinner” (1:28) and “Danielle Pleads with Peggy (Extended)” (2:40). “Room” is easily the most interesting and entertaining of the bunch, whereas the others are pretty lackluster. At least “Dinner” gives Mary Steenburgen and William H. Macy a little more to do; in particular, he’s awfully underused in the final film.

The disc opens with an ad for Submarine. No trailer for Dirty Girl pops up here.

Expect a pretty standard “coming of age” movie from Dirty Girl. On the positive side, it boasts a great supporting cast, but it seems too awkward and disjointed to turn into a strong movie overall. The DVD provides pretty good picture, decent audio and an enjoyable commentary. I think this DVD treats the film fairly well, but it’s an erratic flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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