|Blu-ray Disc Review|
Distributed by: Warner Premiere
Release Date: June 02, 2009
Starring: Amy Poehler (Gayle O’Brien), Parker Posey (Becky St. Germaine), Rachel Dratch (Judi Joskow), Amber Tamblyn (Ashley)
Story by: Rachel Dratch & Ryan Shiraki Directed by: Ryan Shiraki
Payback’s A Beach!
From Warner Premiere, the Warner Bros. direct-to-video production company, is the comedy Spring Breakdown. Director Ryan Shiraki, veteran Saturday Night Live producer, teams up with some old Saturday Night Live cast members: Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Seth Meyers to tell the tale of three geeky college girls who, even 15 years later, just can’t leave their geekdom no matter how hard they try.
Gayle, Becky, and Judi have always dreamed of being fabulous. They were a real flop in college and now in their thirties, they are still the same and hardly even know it. Becky’s boss, a powerful state woman, puts Becky on a private mission to follow her daughter Ashley to the spring break destination of South Padre Island. Being a woman in public life, she can’t have anything embarrassing happen while she’s a runner in an election.
Becky tells her friends she’s leaving but her friends want to come for the ride as well. They see it as a way to correct their geekiness of the past – to finally party it up at spring break and trade in the board games for beer and bikinis. Foam parties, keggers, and one-night stands is what motivates the girls to complete their mission – save Ashley or save themselves - whichever one is highest priority!
The first half hour of the film was very good. Even though much of it is cliché, there are plenty of laughs to go around from rehashed subjects. As the story moved along so did the film and entertainment, but the laughs started to dissipate and predictability took over from there. It’s nice to see bikinis, binging, and foam parties, there’s plenty of film choices of this genre, but most are of mediocre entertainment. Spring Breakdown may be slightly better than that.
VIDEO QUALITY: 3.5/5
This BD has improved resolution over DVD and features details that will be impressive on an HD monitor. Black level is good and creates good image depth. The image is bright for the most parts because most of it is outdoors. Even the interiors are nicely lit – the parties, in the hotel room – all look pleasant. Night scenes look just right to my eye, so no complaints here. Colours can feel a bit warm and can sometimes make flesh tones look over tanned and pasty. Look at the blonds in the “Sevens” and you’ll know what I mean. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s probably accurate considering the unnatural look of what tanning salons do to skin. Ew. The aspect ratio appears somewhat under 1:85:1 but above 1.78:1.
AUDIO QUALITY: 3/5
Font-dominant audio with minor ambience in the back channels, this isn’t an exciting spring break soundtrack. It feels as if someone threw me a kool-aid rather than a cooler, so my partying felt at an all-time low. The music soundtrack is ok featuring some known and lesser known pop/rock songs. The recording quality is ok and the effects and dialogue blend together well, but this is a party soundtrack not really worth getting excited about. To make matters worse, Warner Premiere only included a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding. I am with the belief that lossy audio should not be applied to any film no matter the channel arrangement. Lossless only, please. With all of the DTS-HDMA titles I’ve been listening to lately, I keep forgetting that I need to bring up the volume another 4dB to reference level to compensate for Dolby Digital’s dialnorm feature.
TACTILE FUN!!: 1/5
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
While not heart pounding bass that usually dominates clubs, there is some LFE that enhances the foam party music and its fun to feel the shaking with a bass shaker.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 1/5
The features on this physical disc is an audio commentary from Shiraki and Dratch as well as some deleted scenes and gag reels, both under 2 min each. They are standard def resolution and not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I’m glad they left out one scene:
SpoilerThe rest of the special features, whatever they may be, are located online and are accessible using BD-Live, a BD player feature that I have not enabled at this time.
IN THE END...
For all of you wishing you could turn back time and become a person who you just never were because you feel that you’ve missed out on all of the fun – you can’t. As this movie adequately demonstrates, you are who you are even if you find some temporary relief from your daily routine. Sure, I may have missed out on spring break parties in the Dominican and Mexico just so I could work my ass off and pay off my undergrad years, but who cares? I’m not regretting not having debt and I still have fun today. We all have a little part of us that wishes that things had turned out differently in one situation or another, but for most of us exchanging one will cost you in other ways. Spring Breakdown is sort of like that, but just in a way that’s funny and everything turns out ok in the end.
June 14, 2009.