Georgia Rule Studio: Universal Original Release: 2007 Length: 1 hour 59 mins Genre: Family Drama/Comedy Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 French Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French Rating: R Release Date: September 4, 2007 Rating: ½ / Starring: Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Felicity Huffman, Dermot Mulroney, Cary Elwes and Garrett Hedlund Written by: Mark Andrus Directed by: Garry Marshall Georgia Rule is an earnest family drama/comedy centered on three generations of women played by Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman and Lindsay Lohan. Lohan’s character is presented as a loose cannon right off the bat, with variations of this being played for laughs or more seriously depending on the scene where the hijinks happen. Huffman’s character is Lohan’s mother, whose inability to handle her out-of-control daughter leads her to leave Lohan with the grandmother played by Fonda. Once you have the basic situation figured out, the film proceeds in a pretty straightforward manner, as the central women learn to trust and then care for each other. The story actually becomes fairly serious before it concludes, but it never quite gets into the deep end of the pool. And to be honest, the characters never quite gel – something in the chemistry simply feels off. None of this is for lack of effort, however, and the filmmakers should be commended for what ultimately amounts to a good try. This is the film’s first appearance on DVD, and it has been presented fairly well, considering it is a single disc release. In addition to an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer with 5.1 sound in three languages, there is a commentary track with Garry Marshall and almost 40 minutes of extra features. Be warned that none of the additional material touches on the Lohan controversy that surrounded the film, so if you’re looking for any insight on that, you will not find it here. VIDEO QUALITY: 3/5 Georgia Rule is presented in a good anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. There’s nothing especially spectacular on display here, but it should be noted that there are several CGI effects that have been quietly applied in several vista shots, and they come across seamlessly here. (The film is set in a rural town in Idaho, but was shot near Los Angeles, so additional background has been added in digitally here and there to help things out.) Also, flesh tones are quite accurate here, down to the difference between Fonda’s complexion and Lohan’s younger freckles. The overall image is not especially sharp, but this appears to be an intentional part of what was a lower-budget film in today’s world of epic extravaganzas. The point of the photography here is simply to set the stage for the actresses to play, not to paint a large canvass. As a result, the picture quality looks fine but never really amazes. Again, given the type of film this is, that’s not a problem. AUDIO QUALITY: 3/5 Georgia Rule is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English, French and Spanish. The mix is fine, but there really isn’t much use of the surround channels other than for the various pop songs on the soundtrack. Most of the attention here is placed in the front channels for dialogue and the various sound effects. I really didn’t hear any use of the subwoofer, but I might have missed something. The dialogue comes through very clearly, and the music thankfully doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the mix. SPECIAL FEATURES: 3/5 Georgia Rule fills out its disc with a fair number of extra features, including a director’s commentary, deleted scenes, a gag reel, the theatrical trailer and 3 featurettes that include the usual mutual compliments. Feature Commentary with Garry Marshall - Garry Marshall provides a scene-specific commentary as the movie unspools. It’s a pleasant talk, but not all that active. There are periods of silence as Marshall simply watches the movie with the viewer. But Marshall does have some fun talking about the challenges of filming the movie on a lower budget with a lot of restrictions. It’s a little slow going, but fans of Marshall will certainly enjoy it. Deleted Scenes– (9:04 total, non-anamorphic) - A series of non-anamorphic deleted scenes are provided, including a series of alternate endings that provide multiple resolutions for one character and more explanation of how the characters get to the ending scene. None of the scenes stands out as necessary to the story, but it is fun to see Dermot Mulroney play the mandolin. There is an option to hear Garry Marshall’s commentary over these scenes, but he doesn’t actually speak over all of them. One slapstick bit featuring a runaway pig begs for explanation but gets only silence on the commentary track. One bizarre feature here is that below the letterboxed image of these scenes, a continuation of the image can clearly be seen, mostly blocked by a black box. This indicates that the film may have been shot full-frame and then matted down to 2.35:1, but I cannot tell for certain without actually seeing a full-frame version of the film. Gag Reel – (7:17, non-anamorphic) - This is a potpourri of blown takes, silly looks, and set-up gags, including a visit by Penny Marshall (who gets fined for letting her cell phone ring on the set), a pair of cakes presented to Lindsay Lohan by Fonda and Huffman, and a pretty funny impersonation of Garry Marshall by Dermot Mulroney at the monitor. The Making of GEORGIA RULE (7:29, non-anamorphic) – This is a very brief and fluffy account of the making of the film, with film clips intercut with the usual on-set video and complimentary interviews. All of the major cast are interviewed and they all have nice things to say about each other and Garry Marshall. Marshall himself recounts the difficulty of getting the movie off the ground, but there’s nothing especially deep here. And there is no mention of the troubled shoot that got into the press at the time the film was being made and these featurettes were being compiled. The Women of GEORGIA RULE (6:40, non-anamorphic) – This is primarily a series of brief interviews with the three major cast members, intercut with some of the footage in the film. One piece of information learned here is that the production had to shoot Huffman’s scenes on the weekends due to her schedule on Desperate Housewives. This means that what was already a challenging shoot was a little more difficult, as they needed to film a Wednesday to Sunday schedule, which is never a picnic. On the Set with Garry Marshall (5:22, non-anamorphic) – This is a quick series of interview clips with Marshall and his cast, all speaking complimentary things about each other. Fonda in particular mentions that she appreciates having a director who can make her laugh when working on dark or unhappy material. There is a brief mention of Marshall bringing in family members such as his son to do things like the 2nd Unit work, but there isn’t much in-depth discussion here. Theatrical Trailer (2:32, non-anamorphic) – The film’s theatrical trailer is included here, although it is surprising to note that it is presented in non-anamorphic format. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish for the film itself, as well as for the special features. A standard chapter menu is included for quick reference. When the disc is initially started, a series of non-anamorphic trailers for other DVDs and an HD-DVD promo are played. IN THE END... Georgia Rule is an enjoyable film that stays mostly on the serious side of a family comedy/drama. As a way to see a current performance by Jane Fonda alongside Felicity Huffman and Lindsay Lohan, it is certainly worth a rental. It would be best not to look here for anything deeper, whether that be in the film itself or in the accounts of what the filmmakers went through to make it. Kevin Koster September 3, 2007.