HTF BD REVIEW: Mr. Troop Mom

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Michael Osadciw, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    MR. TROOP MOM

    Distributed by: Warner Premiere

    Film Year: 2009
    Film Length: 84 minutes
    Genre: Comedy
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    Colour/B&W: Colour
    BD Specifications:
    Resolution: 1080/24p
    Audio:
    English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
    English Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Spanish
    Film Rating: G




    Release Date: June 23, 2009
    Rating: 2/5
    Starring: George Lopez (Eddie Serrano), Daniela Bobadilla (Naomi Serrano)

    Written by: Thomas Ian Griffith

    Directed by: William Dear


    Warner Premier releases the Nickelodeon made-for-TV movie Mr. Troop Mom. The Blu-ray release includes the film on a high definition Blu-ray disc, a standard definition DVD and a Digital Copy on the SD disc (I was wondering when the digital copy would appear on the SD disc). Warner Bros. has included various uses for this film to prevent copying: a HD disc for the house theatre, a DVD copy for the cottage, and a digital copy for a portable device on the way to the cottage (or anywhere for that matter!) So could you think of any reason to make a copy of this film? I can’t. I applaud Warner Bros. for covering the bases here.


    Now remember one thing here: this is a kids’ film and I can justify having all of these copies. They’ll ease the headache of having a scratched up travelling disc and a screaming kid wanting to watch the movie instead of frozen macroblocks. Multiple copies are good. Get it? Alright, now to see what’s actually on this disc. The good thing about this Blu-ray is that the feature begins immediately after the warnings. There is no need to view trailers or navigate through a menu.

    HTF DVD Reviewer Ken McAlinden writes in his DVD Review of the film: Mr. Troop Mom, George Lopez plays widowed father Eddie Serrano. Eddie is a workaholic attorney who is constantly disappointing his daughter, Naomi (Bobadilla), who is beginning to know her heavily opinionated Au Pair Catalina (Thai) better than her own dad. Eddie stumbles into an opportunity to get into Naomi's good graces when the Mom who planned to take her to summer camp goes into labour, and he is forced to take her place as "troop mom". Eddie is slow to adapt to the camp setting with its strict rules laid down by the imposing Ms. Hulka (Lynch). Despite encouragement from friendly camp counsellor C.C. (Anderson), his attempts at troop leading and family bonding are foiled at nearly every turn by his slapstick ineptitude. He also finds himself in the middle of a bitter rivalry between his troop of "Wasps"; including Naomi, emo-girl Sam (MacNeil), hair-obsessed girly-girl Paulina (McLeod), and tomboy Kayla (De Marsh); and the "Killer Bees" led by spoiled diva Skyler (Vallard) and her tough punk-coiffed sidekick Yvette (Mayan Lopez).

    Mr. Troop Mom is an almost wholly unoriginal juvenile comedy that seems to have been assembled from the spare parts of just about every made for Disney Channel or Nickelodeon film that has preceded it. Its most novel characteristic is its emphasis on primarily female characters. Other than that, it might as well have been assembled by kids flick checklist. [One absent parent: Check!; Spoiled snobby antagonist: Check!; Busy parent misses important event: Check!; Overconfident adult constantly falling/getting injured: Check!; etc.]. The familiar elements all unravel in an utterly predictable way, which might have a chance to appeal to younger kids who have never seen a movie before, but will not likely do much for other demographics. The real draw for tweens and pre-tweens may very well be the special appearance by the (so I am told) popular Naked Brothers Band during the film's final reel.

    George Lopez is essentially playing a slight variation on his sitcom Dad with a more affluent job and more license for physical slapstick. He is indulged a bit too much in terms of allowing for improvisation, resulting in too many moments where he is allowed to stand around riffing over different variations of the same joke. Two or three of his riffs will be really funny, and the rest will get tiresome.

    The kids are played by a likeable if unpolished group of honest to goodness juvenile actresses. All are playing characters from a nice area of
    San Francisco, so rather than your standard slobs versus snobs scenario, it appears to be a somewhat less compelling lower upper class vs. upper class rivalry between the two sets of girls. The film is something of a Lopez family affair, as George's wife Ann is credited as an Executive Producer and their daughter Mayan plays one of the rival mean girls. Setting nepotism aside and viewing objectively, Mayan's performance is no less accomplished than most of her peers in the cast, many of whom come across a bit stiff in playing extremely narrowly defined one-dimensional characters.


    VIDEO QUALITY: 3.5/5

    I think it’s safe to say this 1.78:1 feature was shot using high def cameras. It certainly doesn’t look like film. The image quality is both good and variable. Strengths are the outdoor shots: bright, “natural”, good sense of depth and realistic colours. Weaknesses are: dark parts of the image are mildly noisy, colours appear thick and harsher in dark areas resulting in what appears as less detail. The image does not seem softened or enhanced even though this HD won’t blow your socks off.


    AUDIO QUALITY: 2.5/5

    The default audio track is Dolby TrueHD - just the way it should be. There is nothing exciting about this track. It is front-heavy and flat. Surrounds are limited. LFE is absent. Any bass comes from the front channels only. Dialogue can have a bit of sibilance. Dialogue is ADR and clearly so; the young girls need to work on their lip-sync abilities; sometimes it’s not even close. Applying re-EQ seems to make the audio sound even flatter.

    TACTILE FUN!! 0/5
    TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: OFF

    No LFE in this movie!!!



    SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5

    Comparing it directly with the DVD, the Blu-ray disc offers a few more features and those that are the same are fancied up for high definition. One problem with this menu is that the writing is very small. Even on my eight foot wide screen and sitting about 12 feet away, I could barely read the green text that made up the explanation of each feature. I can only imagine what this would look like on a smaller screen or for someone with less than 20/20 vision. What were they thinking?

    Exclusive to Blu-ray are two BD-Live features that I currently can’t access until my new theatre construction is completed, so my apologies for not being able to evaluate these. The packaging says that Eddies Antics throws a few surprises when George Lopez runs wild, and Ice Cream Sundae Food Fight blends young girls, ice cream, chocolate sauce and marshmallows together. Ok, then…

    Moving on, the features on the SD DVD are the same, but in sparkling High-def! The following is summarized from Ken McAlinden’s DVD review:

    • George Goes to Camp (6:00) focuses on George Lopez’s part in the movie including his physical comedy, improvisation, working with his wife and daughter, and working with kids. In addition to Lopez himself, on camera comments are provided by Executive Producer Ann Lopez, Jane Lynch, Mayan Lopez, Daniella Bobadilla.

    • Naomi's Journal is an interactive series of featurettes. A brief introduction (:25) sets up the significance of the journal to the character in the film before a dedicated menu screen appears with some background information on the character, a column of "Blog Entries", and a section called "Friends". The "Blog Entries" (6:24) include the following chapters, accessible individually or via a "Play All" selection:

    - Becoming Naomi (:55) Looks at the essence of the character
    - My First Film Role (:43) discusses how this was Bobadilla’s first major role and some of her one-set experiences
    - CampExperience (:27) concerns the physical camp activities in the film
    - Sharing Daddies (:44) is about the fake dad/real dad relationships Bobadilla and Mayan Lopez maintained with George Lopez during production
    - Having Fun on Set discusses how all the girls got along so well (1:35)

    On-screen comments are provided by: Bobadilla, George Lopez, Ann Lopez, Mayan Lopez, Julia Anderson, and Elizabeth Thai. Under the "Friends" listing, we have six icons with pictures of characters, five of which have brief video clips linked to them with no "Play All" option:

    Paulina (Jessica McLeod) (:29)
    Sam (Pyper De Marsh) (:21)
    Kayla (Laine MacNeil) (:13)
    Yvette (Mayan Lopez) (:16)
    Skyler (Jianna Ballard) (:21)
    Catalina (Elizabeth Thai) (no video)

    Rockin' the Bonfire (3:54) focuses on Nat and Alex Wolff of The Naked Brothers Band who make a special appearance at the end of the film. It begins by discussing their established friendship with the Lopez family and then offers up lots of behind the scenes footage that suggests that music was prescribed to them as an outlet for hyperactivity. On camera comments are offered up by George Lopez, Nat Wolff, Alex Wolff, and Jane Lynch.

    Killer Bees vs. Wasps (5:06) covers the juvenile cast and their character traits and then gives extra attention to the mother-daughter characters of Skylar and Denise. On camera comments are provided by Jane Lynch, Julia Anderson, Writer Thomas Ian Griffith, April Amber Telek (who plays Denise - Skylar's Mom), Ann Lopez, Daniella Bobadilla, Jianna Ballard, and Mayan Lopez.

    Additional Scenes are not listed on the packaging but they are here and are selectable individually or via a "Play All" Feature (4:42). The individual scenes are as follows
    • Eddie and the Dog Man (1:14) Eddie and Harry walk through a hallway discussing their case load and encounter an unusual client when they enter Eddie's office.
    • Paulina Gets Duped (1:24) Skylar and her gang trick Paulina into telling her that the Wasps are planning a car wash fundraiser
    • Eddie and Denise All Alone(1:19) Denise and Eddie are alone in a school hallway, Denise comes on to him strongly, and Eddie flees awkwardly
    • Catalina Surprises Eddie (:43) Catalina is surprised to find workaholic Eddie at home

    All of the scenes are from the pre-camp sequences of the movie and were apparently cut to keep things from bogging down. The Paulina Gets Duped scene fills a small plot hole, but the rest were likely easy deletions.

    The Gag Reel (3:39) is also not listed as a feature, and this one mixes unused ad-libs from Lopez with flubbed lines, head-bumping, falling down, and on-set goofing-off.


    IN THE END...

    Goofy film, fun for kids, and good audio and video quality.


    Michael Osadciw
    July 13, 2009.

    Edited by Michael Osadciw - 7/14/2009 at 10:55 pm GMT
     

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