DVD Review HTF REVIEW: A Night at the Roxbury

JustinCleveland

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A Night at the Roxbury
Directed by John Fortenberry

Studio: Paramount Pictures
Year: 1998
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Running Time: 81 mins
Rating: PG-13
Audio: English 2.0, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
MSRP: $14.99

Release Date: August 28, 2007
Review Date: August 21, 2007

Let’s just get this out of the way: “A Night at the Roxbury” is not a good movie. In fact, it is a downright bad movie. The premise, that of two brothers who are completely inept at social interactions drawn from a Saturday Night Live skit, was ridiculous in five-minute installments. Expanded to 81 minutes the film seems to drag interminably, filled with fluffy attempts at character development and wacky situations. Culminating with an utterly predictable and unsatisfying conclusion, “A Night at the Roxbury” is to be avoided for any viewer with discriminating taste.

Following the story of the head-bobbing brothers Butabi (Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan) through their dreams of being players in the local club scene, the film attempts to expand the characters beyond simple stereotypes, showing what life is like for the spoiled children of a silk-flower shop magnate. If that sentence made little sense to you, feel not afraid; the movie makes little sense. Going for easy, ridiculous jokes and a formulaic story--oversexed neighbor girl who has a crush on Steve (Ferrell) and attempts to change his ways, ostracizing brother Doug (Kattan) who has dreams of club ownership.

A line at the end of the film sums up my feelings for this movie. The song synonymous with the Saturday Night Live act, Haddaway’s “What is Love?” plays, and a woman comments that she likes this song. Will Ferrell’s character retorts that, frankly, he’s becoming a little tired of it. This film, too, is tired, stretching an already tenuous premise far beyond the breaking point. A few good laughs do not make up for the long stretches of tedious mediocrity.

Video:
The initial moments of this film had me greatly concerned for the quality of the video, and while it does improve I was less-than impressed with this transfer. Colors are washed out, lacking vibrancy. Fine detail definition is mediocre, with everything coming across as flat and lifeless. The best praise I can muster is that the transfer is Anamorphically enhanced.

Audio:
Considering this movie plays largely as a music video, the default surround sound track lacks a sense of punch and immersion, ultimately falling as flat as the video. Most of the information is sequestered to the main and center channels, with the subwoofer rarely rearing its head from a steady slumber.

Extras:
There are a few slight and ephemeral extras included on this new collector’s set, though nothing of substance. The disc commences with forced previews for current and forthcoming Will Ferrell films, including “Blades of Glory” along with “Norbitt,” one of the few recent films I have seen that are worse than “A Night at the Roxbury.”

“SCORE! Reliving a Night at the Roxbury” is a retrospective talking about the origins of the characters, growing from an idea and a performance with the Groundlings. Amy Heckerling and Lorne Michaels contribute along with director John Fortenberry and the stars to talk about the Butabi’s. It seems everyone is asking the same questions I am, about how to take a simple idea and expand it out. It seems that the problem is that nobody knows what to do, the producers simply knew that the idea was hot and they needed to capitalize. The documentary is fairly complete, running 24 minutes, deconstructing every moment that a viewer could pick out themselves.

“Roxbury Rags” is a discussion of the outlandish costumes required for this film, a major part of the lifestyle the Butabis represent. The level of detail that went into constructing the scenery in the clubs is recounted here.

“Do that Dance” is a conversation with the film’s choreographer, the person responsible for the dance craze that populates weddings and fraternity houses, only recently supplanted by “Napoleon Dynamite.”

The set wraps up with “Making the List,” a featurette on how to get into the hottest clubs, and what makes them the clubs that everyone wants to patronize.

Overall:
I freely admit to having no love for Will Ferrell. I found him charming in “Old School” and “Winter Passing,” and thought he did a fine job in “Stranger than Fiction” and was fantastic in “Elf.” In those movies, however, he has gotten away from the stupid, sophomoric humor that marked his Saturday Night Live career. It is that inanity that curses “A Night at the Roxbury,” a film so ludicrously over-the-top that the filmmakers seemed to suppose its charms would overcome the lack of a discernable story.
 

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So, this is a new SE designed to cash-in on other WF projects?...not that anyone probably cares.

"Will Ferrell’s character retorts that, frankly, he’s becoming a little tired of it"

Funny, that neatly summarizes my feelings towards WF.
 

JustinCleveland

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I think it is supposed to be part of a simultaneously-released Will Ferrell collection.

Ferrell's work in Winter Passing and Stranger than Fiction was good; he needs to start going in that direction.
 

Chris Cheese

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Not sure if you've seen it, but he does a pretty good Woody Allen in Melinda & Melinda too. I'm a fan of his comedy (though I'll also admit that his schtick is getting a little tired), but I like his more serious stuff a lot too.

This one's an abomination, though.
 

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