DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main
DREAMWORKS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Cast:
Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller, Malin Akerma, Carlos Mencia, Rob Corddry, Stephanie Courtney, Ali Hillis
Writing Credits:
Scot Armstrong, Leslie Dixon, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett, Bruce Jay Friedman (short story, "A Change of Plan"), Neil Simon (1972 screenplay)

Tagline:
Love blows.

Synopsis:
Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) is the last single man he knows. But he finally meets a beautiful woman, Lila (Malin Akerman), who seems like she's his perfect match. But after taking the plunge into marriage, Lila immediately starts acting like the wife from Hell on the honeymoon, where a disillusioned Eddie meets another gal, Miranda (Michelle Monaghan) who might actually be his true soulmate.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$14.022 million on 3229 screens.
Domestic Gross
$36.771 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround
French Dolby Surround
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French

Runtime: 117 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 12/26/2007

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly
• “The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition” Featurette
• “Ben and Jerry” Featurette
• "Heartbreak Halloween" Featurette
• “The Egg Toss” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Heartbreak Kid (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 20, 2007)

With every new film, the Farrelly Brothers’ glory days of 1998’s There’s Something About Mary fade further and further from view. 2000’s Me, Myself and Irene made $90 million, a figure that disappointed since it represented barely half of Mary’s $176 million despite the presence of box office giant Jim Carrey.

And matters went even farther downhill from there. 2001’s live-action/animation hybrid took in a pathetic $13 million, and the more traditional Farrelly fare of that same year’s Shallow Hal came home with a lackluster $70 million. The two subsequent Farrelly flicks – 2003’s Stuck On You ($33 million) and 2005’s Fever Pitch ($42 million) proved less successful.

With 2007’s The Heartbreak Kid, the Farrellys looked primed to regain their commercial standing. After all, it reunited them with Ben Stiller, the star of Mary. Could they recreate some of that late Nineties magic?

Apparently not. An adaptation of a Neil Simon flick from 1972, Kid received terrible reviews and made a limp $36 million at the box office. Maybe the Farrellys will someday regain their form, but obviously Kid didn’t do the job.

Stiller plays Eddie, a 40-year-old eternal bachelor. He was once engaged to Jodi (Ali Hillis) but he couldn’t pull the trigger. Despite his lingering longing for Jodi, he attends her wedding. Bad idea, as the event leaves him feeling alone and depressed.

Matters soon take a turn for the better, though, when he meets beautiful blonde Lila (Malin Akerman) as he tries to help her during a robbery. She seems perfect, so Eddie falls in love with her and marries her after a mere six weeks.

So far, so good – until the honeymoon. Eddie sees a less lovable side to Lila – a whole lot less lovable, in fact, and he also learns unpleasant facts about her past. Eddie clearly begins to regret his decision to marry Lila, especially when he meets Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), a beautiful, appealing brunette. Eddie quickly falls for her, which creates a problem since he already has a wife – a brand-new one, at that. The movie follows his antics as he tries to figure out how to get the girl of his dreams.

That premise sure doesn’t make Eddie sound like a sympathetic character, does it? Perhaps in the hands of more talented filmmakers, Kid could better accentuate the lead character’s dilemma and allow us to feel some compassion for him. Unfortunately, the Farrellys are little more than comedic hacks who shoot for cheap laughs and even cheaper sentiment, so any potential that Eddie could create affection in the audience quickly goes out the window.

Hoo boy, does Eddie seem unlikable! I don’t view this as the fault of the fairly talented Stiller. No, he doesn’t stretch his skills, as Eddie feels like yet another variation on the same stumbling, flustered character he often plays. Nonetheless, Stiller does nothing to harm the film, as he does his best to elevate the material.

The Farrellys just won’t allow anything good to come from this mess. Rather than do anything to get us inside Eddie’s head and better depict his dilemma, the movie favors sight gags and little more. That’s the Farrelly MO: crude jokes meant to provoke a basic response but nothing more thoughtful or intelligent.

They also do a poor job of turning Lila into a suitably horrible new bride. Face it: when a movie’s plot revolves around a guy who hits on another woman during his honeymoon, it fights an uphill battle in its attempts to get us to like the lead character. It’s not impossible, but obviously the tale starts with a difficult premise.

If the Farrellys had turned Lila into a truly unlikable shrew, then we could better buy into Eddie’s quest. However, this doesn’t occur. After a quick series of gags meant to convey Lila’s flaws, she rapidly becomes a fairly endearing character. It’s like the Farrellys don’t have the guts to follow through on the premise.

And that’s a real problem. It seems weird to criticize a movie for making a character less one-dimensional, but in this tale, we don’t need – or want – Lila to show positives. Those pleasant attributes end up with one result: Eddie seems like a jerk.

The nadir occurs when Eddie spins a wild web of lies to get away from Lila. Due to a severe sunburn, the poor woman’s been stuck in her room for days, and now she just wants to get out and spend some time with her new husband. Instead, Eddie fibs up a storm so he can ditch her and spend more time with Miranda.

We’re supposed to embrace this jerk? It doesn’t happen. Instead, the Farrellys lacquer the tale with their standard crassness. They indulge in plenty of fake sentiment but don’t allow for a single true emotion to emerge. Almost in spite of itself, Kid boasts an occasional laugh, but most of the time it ends up as an unpleasant mess.

Footnote: if you sit through the credits, you’ll get a coda for Lila.


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

The Heartbreak Kid appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though often quite attractive, some nagging concerns occasionally marred the transfer.

Some of the issues related to sharpness. I saw moderate edge enhancement at times, and this could translate into softness, especially in wider shots. However, delineation usually seemed pretty good, so the softness wasn’t major. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and the movie seemed free from source flaws, though I thought grain could be a bit heavy.

Colors acted as a highlight. The movie boasted a vivid, lively palette, and the tones came across in a bright and dynamic manner. Blacks also appeared dark and dense, but shadows tended to be too thick. Low-light shots were muddier than expected. This wasn’t a bad transfer, but it seemed a little lackluster.

I found the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of The Heartbreak Kid to be forgettable. The track offered the very definition of a “comedy mix”, as it remained heavily oriented toward the front and didn’t bring out much memorable material. Really, if anything other than general ambience occurred, I didn’t notice it. I heard moderate environmental information and that was it. This meant very little activity from the back speakers; the surrounds remained passive through the film.

Audio quality was decent but no better. I thought that speech usually sounded fine; though some edginess occurred, the lines were acceptably natural and intelligible. Effects played a small role in the flick. They sounded fine, but they were so inconsequential that they didn’t create much of a presence.

The music was pretty unremarkable. Some parts of the score showed good vivacity, but most of the time, the music appeared somewhat flat. Nothing about the audio stood out, as this was a relentlessly average track.

As we shift to the DVD’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They tell us a little about locations, story topics and influences, adapting the original film, cast and performances, music, deleted/trimmed scenes, and a few filmmaking challenges.

In the past, many Farrelly commentaries became bogged down in their endless recitation of the names of the actors. They pack their movies with friends and family, so these tracks would offer little more than annotated credit sequences. That tendency made the commentaries dull at best and excruciating at worst.

The Farrellys still engage in some of this behavior, especially during the film’s first third. However, we get less actor-naming than in the past, and they actually offer some good insights. After that stiff beginning, the track gets better as it progresses, and we learn a fair amount of useful material. No, it never becomes a great commentary, but it’s much better than expected.

Editorial aside: at one point the Farrelys say that they think actor Malin Akerman looks and sounds a lot like Cameron Diaz. I disagree. No, the two aren’t dissimilar, but I think Akerman looks more like Kirsten Dunst and she sounds like Drew Barrymore. She is tall and thin like Diaz, but I stand by my assessment!

Four featurettes follow. The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition goes for 16 minutes, 34 seconds as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set and interviews. We find notes from Peter and Bobby Farrelly as they talk about their lives, their work in films and some specifics about Kid. We also get some comments from video assist/friend Jim “Sporty” Ahern and actor Ben Stiller. It creates a decent overview of how they came to movies and their take on comedy.

Next comes the five-minute Ben and Jerry. It focuses on the father and son team of Jerry and Ben Stiller; he hear from them along with Bobby Farrelly and actor Malin Akerman. We get a few reflections on their relationship as well as working together. It’s fluffy but it has a few good notes.

Heartbreak Halloween runs three minutes, 24 seconds and features Bobby Farrelly, Akerman, and Peter Farrelly. The featurette tells us about how the Farrellys lightened the atmosphere with a costume competition on Halloween. Other than some semi-creepy shots of a few unappealing costumes, there’s not much here.

Finally, The Egg Toss goes for eight minutes, three seconds and includes the Farrellys, Ahern, co-producer Kris Meyer, actors Michelle Monaghan and Danny McBride and producer Bradley Thomas. This piece looks at another attempt to loosen up the set, as the Farrellys ran an egg toss competition during the shoot. As with “Halloween”, this isn’t exactly a fascinating program. In fact, it’s pretty much a waste of time.

A Gag Reel lasts four minutes. Should you expect anything more than the usual goofs and giggles? Nope. We find a pretty standard blooper collection here.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of seven minutes, 26 seconds. These include “On the Beach” (1:02), “Fire Dancers” (0:39), “Breakfast Order” (0:34), “Sky Diver” (3:10), “Pillow” (1:15) and “Driving with Dad” (0:46). “Sky” is the only substantial addition of the set, as it introduces Miranda’s boyfriend Cal earlier in the flick. “Beach” also demonstrates Eddie’s progressing irritation with Lila a little better. None of them seem particularly worthwhile, though.

Some ads open the DVD. We find promos for Drillbit Taylor and Into the Wild. These also appear in the Previews area along with clips for Stardust, Hot Rod, and Mind of Mencia.

If you expect something fresh and creative from the Farrelly Brothers with their newest flick… sorry. The Heartbreak Kid really just offers more of their usual shtick, with few laughs along the way. After the surprisingly satisfying Fever Pitch, I hoped the Farrellys would provide another solid effort, but Kid never goes anywhere. The DVD presents mediocre picture and audio along with a few decent extras. Neither a good movie nor a strong DVD, I can’t give Kid my recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.7142 Stars Number of Votes: 7
15:
14:
2 3:
12:
21:
View Averages for all rated titles.

.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main