Exporting Raymond appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a generally bland presentation.
Sharpness seemed erratic. The shots could look rough and blocky, but they generally appeared reasonably accurate and concise. Definition was never poor, but it was never particularly good, either. Light instances of jagged edges and shimmering occurred, and mild signs of edge enhancement could be seen. Source flaws weren’t an issue.
Colors were mediocre. The program featured a natural palette, but the tones tended to be somewhat flat and undistinguished.. Blacks were acceptable, and shadows showed decent delineation. Overall, this was a watchable image but not anything above average.
I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Stonehenge was a bit more involving than expected. Music showed good stereo imaging, and a few effects spread out across the front and rear. We got elements like a storm, street sounds, and other tidbits. These never turned the soundscape into a broad extravaganza, but they gave the movie a little more kick than I anticipated.
Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded natural and concise, without edginess or other problems. Music seemed full and rich, and effects were good; they didn’t demand much of the mix, but they appeared accurate enough. This was a pretty nice track for a documentary of this sort.
We get a few extras on the DVD. These start with an audio commentary from writer/director Phil Rosenthal. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the creation of the documentary and his experiences during the events we see in the film.
The latter subject dominates the commentary, so don’t expect to learn much about how Rosenthal put together the documentary; he gives us a little information about that subject but not much. Instead, he provides a lot of context and additional information related to the situations/people he encountered in Russia. Rosenthal discusses the topics in a chatty, humorous style that works well. Really, he’s a lot more engaging in the commentary than he is in the film; he makes the chat informative and a lot of fun.
Nine Deleted Scenes run a total of 11 minutes, 26 seconds. Most of these offer pretty brief and superfluous tidbits from Rosenthal’s trip; they’re interesting but fairly trivial. I do like the concerns about translations – that segments offers more understanding of the series’ adaptation challenges – and we get a bit more from the set.
Some TV episodes appear next. We get two for Everybody Loves Kostya (24:25 each) and two for Everybody Loves Raymond (22:42 and 22:48, respectively). In a fun twist, both offer the same stories – “Baggage” and “The Family Bed” – so we can see the original and the Russian versions of the episodes. That makes their inclusion a great bonus.
Under Old Jews Telling Jokes, we hear from Rosenthal’s father Max. In the one-minute, 16-second clip, the elder Rosenthal delivers a quick joke. It’s mildly amusing.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Midnight in Paris, Community and The Big C. These also appear under Previews, and the disc throws in the trailer for Raymond as well.
With Exporting Raymond, we get a generally intriguing look at an attempt to adapt American comedy for the Russian audience. It’s not always a smooth ride, but the documentary delivers enough interesting observations that it usually succeeds. The DVD provides average picture along with pretty good audio and a nice array of supplements. Though not a great documentary, this one has enough going for it to deserve a look.