Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Apparently shot on digital video, Magic offered inconsistent but decent visuals.
Sharpness generally seemed satisfactory. Sometimes the wider shots appeared a little ill defined and weren’t as distinctive as I’d like. Nonetheless, the program mostly came across as accurate and concise. Occasional signs of jagged edges and shimmering occurred, and some minor edge haloes also could be seen at times. Source flaws also were absent, as the presentation suffered from no artifacts, video noise or other issues.
Given the basic setting, colors usually stayed simplistic but solid. The musical numbers offered the liveliest hues, and they presented pretty dynamic tones. Blacks also appeared deep and firm, and the occasional low-light shot seemed clear and appropriately visible. There wasn’t a whole lot to the visual presentation of Magic, but the DVD replicated things fairly well.
Similar thoughts greeted the Dolby Digital soundtrack of Jesus Is Magic. Not surprisingly, the mix usually presented a very modest soundfield. Silverman’s monologue emanated firmly from the front center channel, so that speaker heavily dominated the proceedings. Otherwise, we got audience laughter and applause from the front sides and – to a lesser degree – surrounds.
Music opened up things at times, though not with much precision. The songs offered vague stereo imaging that lacked satisfying delineation. Vocals sometimes bled to the sides, and the music suffered from a mushy sense of image. This varied, as some tunes worked better than others, but I never felt impressed by the stereo songs.
Audio quality remained positive. Speech easily became the most important aspect of the track, and Silverman’s remarks consistently sounded natural and warm. Except for one laugh in a musical number, I noticed no edginess or problems with distortion, as her comments were always very smooth. The light applause and laughter also seemed clear and accurate. Music showed acceptable definition, though that area was erratic. Some of the tunes came across as lively and distinct, while others tended to be a bit muddy. All of these factors left us with a “C+” soundtrack.
A few extras round out the DVD. First up comes an audio commentary with director Liam Lynch and actor/writer Sarah Silverman. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. Lynch dominates the conversation as Silverman says surprisingly little; I think she talks more about how good her teeth look on film than anything else. Not that Lynch is particularly informative either, as this turns into a pretty mediocre track.
The commentary goes over locations and the design of the main set, inspirations for various gags and scenes, the restrictions of the budget, shooting with specific guests like Bob Odenkirk, and some production notes. Unfortunately, the details pop up infrequently, as we mostly get comments about how much Lynch likes various segments. He often laughs and praises Silverman’s work. Dead air becomes a problem as well, especially as the flick progresses. This is a pretty dull commentary without much to redeem it.
Next comes a documentary called The Making of Jesus Is Magic. This 35-minute and 32-second show offers movie snippets, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We hear from Lynch, Silverman, “understudy” Kelsie Lynn, actors Laura Silverman and Brian Posehn, and Sarah’s boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel.
They offer comments about staging the show and issues related to making the movie. The highlights of the piece come from the glimpses of the shoot, though, as we see elements like Silverman’s giant hair creation for one video, rehearsals, and backstage shots. Those help flesh out our understanding of the flick’s creation and help make this a pretty informative piece as well as one with some laughs. It’s sure a lot more useful than that boring commentary.
A Music Video for “Give the Jew Girl Toys” lasts two minutes, 24 seconds. It shows Silverman as she pesters Santa not to ignore her for religious reasons. It’s mildly entertaining, though as with the tunes in the movie, the tune itself is better than the lyrics.
In the Trailers area, we get promos for both Jesus Is Magic and The Aristocrats. Finally, we get Silverman’s Scene From The Aristocrats. This five-minute and 43-second snippet shows her take on that joke. It’s a good version, though this component obviously becomes redundant if you’ve already seen that flick.
While not the most consistent show, Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic presents more laughs than the average stand-up routine. The movie replicates her performance pretty well and keeps us entertained over most of its 70 minutes. The DVD offers decent picture, audio and extras, though the commentary is a dull disappointment. Though the show and disc don’t excel, they’re good enough for me to recommend this package to fans of clever comedy.