Duplex appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Though the image boasted many positives, some nagging concerns made it look less than stellar.
Sharpness came across strongly. The movie appeared nicely distinct and accurate. I noticed no signs of softness during this crisp and detailed picture. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no issues, but I did detect some light edge enhancement at times. Source defects virtually n problems. However, the picture displayed some moderate graininess that seemed heavier than I’d expect. Much of the movie passed without incident, but a few sequences appeared slightly flawed in this regard.
Much of the film demonstrated a fairly natural but subdued palette. The film didn’t often offer hues that could shine, but they consistently seemed solid. The colors were firm and distinctive, without any kinds of problems. Black levels appeared reasonably dense and deep, though they looked a little muddy at times. In addition, low-light shots could be somewhat murky on occasion. Those images mostly appeared concise, but a few of them seemed less than stellar. Overall, Duplex looked fine but not spectacular.
Most comedies don’t make much use of the audio possibilities, and that held true for Duplex. The flick’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack seemed acceptable but nothing more. Unsurprisingly, the soundfield heavily focused on the front speakers. From those, I heard decent stereo imaging for the music, and effects also helped create a reasonably good sense of environment. Elements appeared logically placed and they blended together accurately. The surrounds failed to display much activity, at least until the last act. When Mrs. Connelly got a home theater, the track kicked my HT to action nicely. A thunderstorm and a few of the violent sequences also used the rears, but Mrs. Connelly’s HT was really the only one that brought those speakers to life.
Audio quality seemed fine. Speech remained consistently tight and natural, with no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Effects played a minor role and were acceptably distinctive. They featured good range when necessary and seemed clean. Music was also well rendered, with smooth highs and moderate lows. Nothing here stood out, but the audio was satisfactory for this sort of flick.
Though Duplex comes as a two-disc set, it does so mostly to let the separate versions of the film have room to breath. The movie certainly doesn’t include much in the way of supplements. The Behind the Scenes Special runs a mere four minutes. It depicts a mix of behind the scenes footage plus some on-the-set comments from Barrymore, Stiller, and Fierstein. It’s short and superficial but moderately interesting.
The three Deleted Scenes last a total of three minutes, two seconds. The first two simply extend existing segments and do nothing more than make the flick more tedious. The third depicts an alternate ending that seems a little more cynical than the existing one.
The Sneak Peeks area offers a promo for Miramax Home Entertainment. No trailer for Duplex itself appears.
A tired and uninspired gross-out comedy, Duplex suffers from a serious lack of entertainment value. It misuses its cast badly and fails to generate anything other than groans and winces. The DVD presents decent but fairly average picture and sound plus only a couple minor supplements. I’m all for black comedies, but not when they leave out all the actual comedy. Skip this clunker.