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HTF Blu-Ray Review: The Heartbreak Kid

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 1 PatWahlquist

PatWahlquist

    Supporting Actor

  • 735 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 13 2002

Posted December 07 2008 - 09:58 AM


The Heartbreak Kid (Blu-ray)

Studio: DreamWorks Home Video
Rated: R (For crude humor, crude language and strong sexual content)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Video Codec: MPEG4-AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD English 5.1; French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; English SDH
Time: 114 minutes
Disc Format: 1 SS/DL Blu-ray
Case Style: Keep case
Theatrical Release Date:2007
Blu-ray Release Date: December 16, 2008

At some point in the not too distant past, society deemed the unmarried man to be considered an outcast, a pariah, if you will. Prior to, let’s say, 1970, the unmarried female in society bore this role and she was considered to be an old maid if not wed (and preferably with child) by the age of 25. As feminism dug its claws into our unsuspecting society it began to change these outdated views of the male dominated society (work, home, relationships) as the only viable means to live. Women left the home to make it on their own in the workforce and not be strapped to their husbands as a means of support. Child rearing could be done by the stay at home mom next door (she being not so enlightened) and she will be paid well to assuage the guilt. Feminism spreads. Men, unable to deal with the crushing assault put on them by the movement, do what any defeated team would do: surrender, and hope they at least feed us well.

I sat down to watch The Heartbreak Kid having never seen the original so I was unprepared for what I was about to see. Ben Stiller plays Eddie, a 40ish single man and owner of a successful sporting goods shop in San Francisco (society questions how he could ever be considered a success). Eddie, at 40ish, mind you, is UNMARRIED, much to the dismay of everyone around him, including his father, Doc, (Jerry Stiller) and his best bro Mac (Rob Corddry) (society is happy to have them on its side). Eddie meets Lila (Malin Akerman) as she is having her purse stolen, and the two strike up a whirlwind romance, culminating in a wedding six weeks later (society sighs in relief). Lila, however, has a few quirks that Eddie didn’t know about: she likes to sing a lot, she used to be a coke head, she has a deviated septum, and several more unflattering and basically unmarriable traits (society comments that love is blind). The newlyweds decide to honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, but Eddie quickly figures out Lila isn’t the girl for him (society starts to get nervous) and he tries to figure out how to end it. Like a bolt from the coincidence gods, in walks Miranda (Michelle Monaghan) and her redneck family. Eddie and Miranda find they have a lot in common, they go well together, and all seems well (society is in a predicament). Eddie has one pesky problem in the form of Lila, and he must juggle his lies and confusion to hopefully ease his way out of one relationship into another. Oh, yeah, this is a comedy too, black as it may be (society, nudge-nudge, gets it).

The Heartbreak Kid may be the most frustrating picture I’ve seen in a long time. To get back to my point about the male bashing in this picture: it is blatant in its vilification of the unmarried man, and it is quick to show what a poor, miserable and pathetic creature he is. The married man (Mac) is the poor lapdog of his domineering, shrew of a wife and his only means of survival is to ensure she gets everything she asks for so he doesn’t feel the back of her emotional hand. Eddie is portrayed as perhaps a worse creature than that, as someone of little value in society and obviously something must be wrong with him at this point. Doc may be the one vestige of old-school (unenlightened, of course) manhood since he is still colorfully asking Eddie how his sexual conquests are going and while still partying up his widower-hood. A case could be made that Eddie as the single, unenlightened male is the victim of his own decisions, but that clearly falls apart when you see he has a successful business in San Francisco and a fine life, just by himself. The movie, prodded by a couples society, only works if we swallow this premise and capitulate (society pats us on the head).

Having been a big fan of co-directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s previous pictures, most notably Kingpin, seeing how far they’ve creatively fallen is almost painful to behold. Outside of my thematic diatribe above, the picture is a pale imitation of the best of the Farrelly’s previous works: Lila comes of as a Bizarro-Mary, Stiller is every other character Stiller has done, right down to his breaking point scene, a staple of the Stiller catalogue. Jerry Stiller’s Doc could have easily stole the show as I would have rather seen a morally questionable and cringe worthy road trip with Doc and Eddie doing as Doc suggests they do early in the picture and head to Vegas. Traditional Farrelly gross out and shock gags now seem pathetic and tired, and the committee of writers on the project (which included the Farrelly’s) certainly doesn’t help to focus the effort. The whole, sorry mess of a picture tries a last minute save by venturing into black comedy waters, but it’s too little too late and it only makes us angry at the characters and obliterates any respect we had for them. As the credits rolled, I could hear society mocking me in the balcony, asking me what I expected of such a retched, unenlightened male creature.


Video:
Note: I am watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment.

The picture is framed at 2.35:1, and it is encoded in MPEG4-AVC at 1080p. Colors are absolutely spectacular in this transfer, coming across as bold, rich and vibrant. Contrast seems to be boosted just a little bit for as nice as the colors are they can come off a bit hot in some scenes. I also noticed just the slightest hint of a red push in the image giving flesh tones a too pink look and making most of the actors lips look unnatural. Black levels are excellent showing good depth and detail: I was particularly impressed with the night scenes on the beach. Sharpness and detail are also quite good. The image is free from any print dirt or other such debris and I noticed no edge enhancement. I noticed no differences between the Blu-Ray and the previous HD-DVD.


Audio:
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the PS3 to the Denon 3808CI.

The Dolby TrueHD track was basic as there were not any types of special audio effects really necessary in the story. The natural settings of Cabo San Lucas were enhanced by the sounds of the wave crashing in the fronts while seagulls flew around in the surrounds. The soundtrack contains numerous pop hits and these are faithfully reproduced, coming across clear and bold. LFE’s rarely engaged leaving the soundtrack mostly in the mids and highs. The Blu-Ray loses the Dolby Digital Plus English track, but it is not missed at all, and there were no other differences between the two discs.


Bonus Material: the Blu-Ray contains all of the bonus material from the previous HD-DVD.

Commentary by the Farrelly Brothers: the boys have a fun time talking about the actors and production. Nothing too exciting, but the brothers are funny enough to keep it going.

The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition (SD) (16:34): the Farrelly’s explain their influences, how they got started and their theories on comedy. The boys come off a self-depreciating and clever which makes me wonder what happened to this picture. They go so far as to call Eddie an anti-hero. Hm. They also note they were trying to go in a new direction with the R rating and trying to break free from their old gags. Hm, again.

Ben and Jerry (SD) (4:59): the Stiller boys talk about working with each other.

Heartbreak Halloween (SD) (3:24): seems as if the production was getting a little punchy while filming so they had a Halloween party with cash prizes. The piece shows the behind the scenes footage of the crew in costume while shooting.

The Egg Toss (SD) (7:59): more production time killers to bring the crew together. The rules of the sacred Egg Toss game are also explained.

Deleted Scenes (SD) (7:27): six deleted scenes.

Gag Reel (SD) (4:00):

Theatrical Trailer (HD)


Conclusions:
A not-so-funny movie isn’t even saved by a nice set of extras.

Thanks to Dave Sim for the…inspiration.
ISO "Lost" ARG prints from Kevin Tong, Olly Moss, Eric Tan and Methane Studios.  PM me if you want to sell!

All reviews done on a Marantz VP11S1 1080p DLP projector.

Displays professionally calibrated by Gregg Loewen of Lion AV.