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Michael Showalter
Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge, Sally Field
Writing Credits:
David Marshall Grant, Dan Savage

Michael Ausiello and Kit Cowan's relationship takes a tragic turn when Cowan is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$679,690 on 783 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 112 min.
Price: $27.99
Release Date:2/7/2023

• Deleted Scenes
• “From Memoir to Movie” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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Spoiler Alert [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 9, 2023)

With a title like Spoiler Alert, one might expect this 2022 film to offer something wink-wink and eccentric like the similarly self-consciously titled 2012 film John Dies at the End. Nope – instead, the movie brings a melodrama occasionally leavened by light comedy.

In 2001, TV Guide writer Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) meets photographer Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge) at a Manhattan nightclub. The pair instantly connect and begin to date.

This leads to a serious relationship, one with a mix of complications. Matters take a dark turn in 2014 when Kit gets diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer.

When one looks at the filmography of director Michael Showalter, one finds an unusual mix. This list includes broad comedies like Wet Hot American Summer and They Came Together, weepy dramas like The Big Sick and the Oscar-bait biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

All of these share one factor: they disappoint to varying degrees. Although none of them outright stinks, each one fails to live up to its potential.

With Alert, Big Sick acts as the obvious connection in Showalter’s catalog. Both explore long-term romantic relationships impacted by the serious illness of one member.

Like Sick, Alert comes based off real-life events. In this case, the movie adapts the actual Auselio’s 2017 book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies.

While the movie’s title lacks the spoiler of the memoir’s, it nonetheless ensures that it lives up to its billing. Indeed, the film’s start shows Cowan close to his end – albeit not actually deceased yet.

This means Alert echoes the granddaddy of all “doomed romance” films: 1970’s Love Story. Both that film and Alert open with foreshadowing that lets us know one of the protagonists won’t survive to see the end credits.

Though a massive hit, Love Story offered a pretty terrible movie. As such, the way Alert reminds me of it gives me trepidation.

On the positive side, I like Alert more than I enjoyed Love Story. On the negative side, that becomes a low bar given how much I hated Love Story.

A couple months before Alert hit screens, Bros arrived in multiplexes with a loud ad campaign to trumpet its alleged spot as the first mainstream gay rom-com. I still don’t know if that’s accurate, but I do know the filmmakers acted more like they needed to educate the world about the gay community than they wanted to make a good movie.

While Alert never shies away from its “gay content”, it doesn’t treat Michael and Kit as different from heterosexual couples. At no point does it neuter them, as it paints an active same-sex pair – it just views this as largely unremarkable.

Which seems like a more progressive choice than the “in your face” elements of Bros. If nothing else, this makes Alert more watchable.

Unfortunately, it never becomes especially interesting, mainly because it fails to develop our leads in a meaningful manner. They get a few general characteristics but don’t feel like compelling people in their own right.

Maybe the filmmakers wanted so badly to treat Michael and Kit as “just another couple” that they forgot to make them come across with actual personalities. Even when their relationship hits snarls, the movie seems so kind ‘n’ gentle that it creates no sparks.

Alert also rambles down unnecessary story tangents too often. It gets into Kit’s illness less than halfway into the narrative, which seems too soon, and it also just meanders when it needs to focus on the leads.

We find a well-meaning movie, and I respect that. Unfortunately, the end result lacks real drama or emotional impact.

Footnote: some footage of the actual Kit Cowan appears during the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Spoiler Alert appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an appealing image.

Overall delineation worked fine. A little softness crept into a few interiors, but the majority of the movie displayed positive delineation.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occur, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws failed to appear.

Colors leaned toward the usual teal and amber, though with some reds and purples in there as well. The hues felt well-rendered.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while low-light shots seemed smooth and clear. Across the board, the presentation satisfied.

As a character piece, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 track lacked a lot of ambition. Still, it suited the film’s ambitions.

This meant a lot of general ambience, with occasional scenes that added some pizzazz. Street sequences showed a nice sense of plus, and clubs/parties used the speakers well.

Audio quality worked fine, with speech that came across as natural and concise. Music appeared vivid and full.

Effects didn’t get much to do, but they became accurate and tight. Expect a decent but unspectacular mix here.

A few extras appear, and From Memoir to Movie runs seven minutes, 22 seconds. It presents info from author Michael Ausiello, producers Alison Mo Massey and Jordana Mollick, and actors Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge, and Bill Irwin.

We learn about the book’s path to the screen as well as cast and characters. Expect a mix of insights and happy talk, though the moments where Ausiello and Parsons chat together work best.

Five Deleted Scenes span a total of six minutes, 14 seconds. A few minor character bits emerge but nothing notable or especially interesting.

Beyond its focus on a gay couple, Spoiler Alert fails to differentiate itself from a slew of genre films. A love story that revolves around tragedy, the movie feels erratic and too trite to bring the expected emotional impact. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture, decent audio and minor bonus materials. Anticipate a forgettable drama.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
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