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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
The Boy Next Door Blu-ray Review
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Girl Most Likely Blu-ray ReviewBlu-ray Lionsgate
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Distributed By: N/A
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Rating: PG-13
- Run Time: 1 Hr. 43 Min.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraViolet
- Case Type: keep case in a slipcover
- Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
- Region: A
- Release Date: 11/05/2013
- MSRP: $24.99
The Production Rating: 2.5/5When her boy friend (Brian Petsos) breaks up with her and she’s fired from her minor job at a magazine, playwright Imogene (Kristen Wiig) stages a suicide scene for herself hoping to win her boy friend’s sympathy and regain his love. When it backfires and she’s remanded to 72-hour suicide watch at her mother’s (Annette Bening) house in Ocean City, New Jersey, Imogene’s life seems to have hit rock bottom. Her old room has been rented out to Lee (Darren Criss), a fledgling singer, her mother is living with a man code-named "The Bousche" (Matt Dillon) who claims to be some kind of secret agent, and her shy, painfully slow brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald ) is too preoccupied with the mollusks he studies for his job and for his hobby to offer her much solace. On top of all that, her mother at long last reveals that their long missing father (Bob Balaban) hadn’t died but actually has another life as a successful author separate from them in New York City. At the end of her rope, Imogene decides she must find out about the one member of her family who has accomplished something in order to get her own life back on track.
The script by Michelle Morgan doesn’t paint Imogene as a very astute or aware person for someone of her age and intelligence. Her boy friend clearly is disinterested in her before they break up, her friends are horrific, jaded ciphers whose singular thrill seems to be in tearing everyone else around them down, and she loses her job by deliberately being uncooperative and difficult. Thus, as the author of her own misery, it’s terribly tough to feel any sympathy for her plight (or find any humor in it either), and as she’s no wet-behind-the-ears juvenile, she ought to have garnered a bit of common sense about the way the world works long before things went completely sour on her. By the writer's making her mother and her boy friend and her brother eccentric and unsympathetic to her demands, too, again the viewer can’t offer the character of Imogene much in the way of understanding. On the other hand, Christopher Fitzgerald’s Ralph is the film’s saving grace, a sweet-natured innocent whose fondness for crabs has led to his inventing a human shell device, a silly but funny prop which plays importantly in later narrative events. Once Imogene is resigned to her living back home in New Jersey, the writer and directors paint a too black and white dichotomy between the sophisticated phoniness of New York City and the “life among the people” richness of New Jersey unworthy of really adept scripting, and the coda to everyone’s stories ties things up in an unbelievably happy bundle that just never rings true for a second.
Kristen Wiig never quite reaches the eccentric threshold where quirks become charming and funny. Instead, she’s often actively irritating even in moments where we’re expected to be rooting for her. Annette Bening nails the rather poorly written role of the mother too caught up in her own domestic romance to worry about her daughter’s unhappiness. Matt Dillon brings a fun, edgy eccentricity to the limited part of Bousche while Darren Criss gets the chance to sing a bit (the Backstreet Boys’ “Rock Your Body”) and turn on the charm though he and Wiig never strike many sparks as a romantic older woman/younger man couple. Christopher Fitzgerald walks away with the movie in his every scene as the deadpan, mollusk-loving Ralph. His is the kind of oddball performance that would have elevated the film had the other actors been able to find similar appealing hooks for their own characters. June Diane Raphael as Imogene’s two-faced friend Dara oozes smarmy insincerity from every pore.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
The film has been framed here at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. While sharpness is pleasing, it’s never strong enough to bring out graphic details in facial features, clothes, hair, and the Jersey and New York backgrounds. Color is rather pale in the present day scenes (in flashback, the color becomes richer but sharpness softens appreciably) though skin tones are realistic if a bit wan. Black levels are good throughout. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4/5The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is mostly frontcentric. There are occasional music cues which stretch into the rears, and one specific storm sequence does feature split effects in the fronts and rears as thunder rumbles ominously across New Jersey. Dialogue has been nicely recorded and has been placed in the center channel.
Special Features: 2.5/5Gag Reel (2:29, HD)
Life in the Human Shell (3:14, HD): actor Christopher Fitzgerald improvising bits with his human shell prop on the streets of New York City and Ocean City.
Making Most Likely (8:44, HD): writer Michelle Morgan, directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, producer Celine Rattray, and costume designer Tom Broecker talk about the story and the wonderful actors who fit neatly into their expectations for the parts.
Deleted Scenes (2:39, HD): three scenes shown in montage form
Promo Trailers (HD): Much Ado About Nothing, Thanks for Sharing, Friends with Kids, The Switch.
Ultraviolet: instructions and code sheet are inside the case