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HTF DVD REVIEW: Miss Conception



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#1 of 3 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted July 27 2008 - 10:12 AM

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Release Date: August 5, 2008
Studio: First Look Studios
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc DVD case
Year: 2008
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h44m (mislabeled as 1h34m)
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
MSRP: $24.98

The Feature: 3/5
Georgina (Heather Graham) really wants to be a mother, but her boyfriend Zak (Tom Ellis) isn't interested in being a father so that's it for the relationship. What's worse, she's then diagnosed with early menopause. In fact, she only has one egg left and two weeks before she ovulates. With the help of her best friend Clem (Mia Kirshner) she goes on the hunt for a solution before her time runs out, solutions that range from the awkward (personal ads) to unethical (picking up men at a funeral, though it is one the funnier scenes). Though the obvious answer would be to harvest and freeze her remaining egg, an idea that's quickly dismissed by the fertility specialist, Georgina wants a baby now and she'll do just about anything to get it. But then again, maybe that boyfriend of hers will come around.

Enjoying "Miss Conception" will ultimately come down to how willing you are to overlook a gigantic, hastily filled plot hole. That is, what's wrong with that egg freezing idea? The answer of course, is that it wouldn't give us a movie, though the filmmakers do their best to convince us of Georgina's desperation to be pregnant. The other puzzler is why this was made in the United Kingdom with American actresses when I'm sure there were plenty of British actresses up for the parts. Or why the film wasn't simply set in America, saving Graham and Kirshner the need to put on accents?

All that aside, the film is surprisingly entertaining. Graham seems to have the generic British accent down and handles the comedic subtleties and sometimes slapstick well. And Kirshner is endearing as the somewhat self-involved, brittle best friend. The only low spot in the cast is the overacting Ruta Gedmintas who plays an American princess vying for Zak's affections. The ending is storybook - and it'd be silly to expect anything else - but there are enough setbacks and false leads to actually make you wonder how it will end. Though not on par with Bridget Jones (despite what some of the publicity may say), "Miss Conception" is at least worthy of a rental.


Video Quality: 4/5
Accurately framed at 2.35:1 the picture is free of physical defects and edge enhancement. Black levels are generally stable and deep, with a few scenes looking a bit dull. With a muted color palette contrast can look a bit flat, but it's fitting for the overcast London climate. Detail is decent with a slight drop in some of the wider shots. Noise is visible is some of the fine detail areas, but is not distracting.


Audio Quality: 3/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track gets the job done in a dialogue driven film. Surround activity is solely for support of the soundtrack with no noticeable LFE, though the music has some nice bass at times. The stereo option exists for those who want it, but most will likely prefer the discrete mix for its clearer dialogue.


Special Features: 2/5

Behind the Scenes (8m32s): Cast and crew contribute to a straightforward featurette about the film.

Trailer (1m02s)

Previews: Jack and Jill vs. the World, Meet Bill, War, Inc., August, American Crime, Christmas Caper, The Neighbor


Recap

The Feature: 3/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 2/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3/5

Surprisingly endearing film in the spirit of Bridget Jones gets decent audio and video treatment but a slim special features package.
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#2 of 3 Brian D H

Brian D H

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Posted July 28 2008 - 04:20 AM

I haven't seen the movie, but I can comment on the premise.

My wife had this same diagnosis (though we didn't find this out until after the birth of our second daughter). The result was that many of those last few eggs had genetic abnormalities, and she had three miscarriages in the span of 1 year. Finally, on our fourth attempt, we had a beautiful healthy daughter. I don't know if my wife's situation is typical of a woman with early-onset menopause, but if so, there would be a better than average chance that that "last egg" the protagonist has might not even be viable.

Perhaps a somewhat logical reason the egg cannot be frozen in the movie could be ethical concerns due the risk of birth defects?
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#3 of 3 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted July 28 2008 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the info Brian. I'm glad you were blessed with a daughter after such difficulties.

Unfortunately the film doesn't make an attempt to be logical about her options. I'll spoiler it just to be safe:

The freezing idea is offered up and the snooty fertility specialist (who of course is French) says, "It is not a sorbet!" And that's the last we hear of it. Someone even suggests getting a second opinion but that's quickly dismissed as well.


I would be curious to know how people who have faced the medical condition feel about the film. Is it insulting or does it provide some needed levity?
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