DATE MOVIE UNRATED Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 2006 Film Length: 85 minutes (unrated) Film Length: 82 minutes (rated) Genre: Comedy Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Theatrical Ratio The PG-13 version features a flipper disc with both 1.85:1 and 1.33:1 versions. Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English 5.1 Surround Spanish 2.0 Surround French 2.0 Surround Subtitles: English, Spanish Film Rating: Release Date: May 30, 2006. Film Rating: / Alyson Hannigan (Julia Jones), Adam Campbell (Grant Funkyerdoder), Tony Cox (Hitch), Sophie Monk (Andy), Valery Oritz (Jell-O) Written by: Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer Directed by: Aaron Seltzer Everyone wants a happy ending. (In my attempt to deliver the most accurate A/V review of a DVD to Home Theater Forum, this review was delayed until I was able to get a hold of a final product for Date Movie. The screener that was sent to me is to date the worst looking disc I’ve ever seen. It was so problematic I couldn’t consider it for review by street date.) There was a time when I thought spoofs were funny. Anytime I saw a film or a TV program making hilarious references to or poking fun at films or life I found them immediate favourites. While films like Spaceballs, The Naked Gun and Airplane! come to mind, Date Movie never will. I will summarize this movie in one quick sentence: It’s horrible. I will never get the 85 minutes of my life back to take a jog, spend time with friends I haven’t seen in a while, or watch a much better movie. I was somehow suckered into believing I was going to watch a funny movie, even though I knew it was a parody, but this movie crosses into the stupidity zone. I will guarantee you that I probably spent more time writing the review for this film than the screenwriters did for this script. It’s simply terrible. The film is about Julia Jones, a fat and ugly waitress who can’t get a date from even the most appalling guy. She’s transformed into a beautiful young woman (if you find Alyson Hannigan beautiful) and she finally has a crack at dating a Grant Funkyerdoder, a British chap resembling that of Hugh Grant. As she begins to plan her wedding, she finds she could have some competition from Grant’s ex-fiancé Andy. The film makes obvious references to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Meet the Parents, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Wedding Crashers, Kill Bill, Hitch, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and I could go on and on. And when I say “obvious references” they are obvious in the sense that the film actually plays out many scenes from these films in a virtually copycat kind of way. This is where I feel the film totally flops. Date Movie has very little story of it’s own and can barely stand on two legs, so what it does is take scenes from other films and have the actors re-act them with a little bit of “humour.” The problem is that it’s not funny. The written jokes aren’t funny, the very long parody of Meet the Parents isn’t funny, and the actors aren’t funny either. Alyson Hannigan’s acting is about as mechanical as anyone can get, the rest of them suffer from over exaggeration. The only actress worth noting is newcomer Sophie Monk as Andy. Not only is she strikingly beautiful, but she’s the only one who looks like she’s taking her part seriously. Parodies of already funny movies also just don’t work. How can I laugh at a parody of film that was intended to be funny to begin with? I guess that is why Scary Movie did nothing for me either. Parodies are usually made from serious films; this one isn't. True satire, the kind that you have to think a little about is also completely absent from this film. Instead the writers for this film chose to write in scenes with crude humour to try to force a laugh. In my opinion, it shows a complete lack of creativity of the filmmakers and, well, I won’t say anything about the fans because we all have a right to choose our entertainment. VIDEO QUALITY / The “look” of this DVD is different from the picture quality of other releases. I’ve watched a lot of discs this week, mostly HD-DVD through the Toshiba HD-A1. All of my SD-DVD viewing was also done through this machine using HDMI. I made a few minor adjustments as I recalibrated my projector to this player and I was ready for some disc spinning. The first thing that I noticed different about Date Movie was its colours; they aren’t the same as other films. While they are very vibrant, detailed, and have no noise plaguing their detail, I found the over texture to look a little pastel. Think of Josie and the Pussycats and you’ll know what I mean (that film did intend to look that way). Date Movie may intend to look this way too since it is consistent throughout the film only to a much smaller degree. I enjoyed the colourful look and the contrast it provided. Overall it is very good. The DVD isn’t soft nor does it suffer from edge enhancement. Compression artefacts are occasionally noticed but if you blink you’ll miss them. The picture is bright and also has deep black levels giving overall contrast top marks. There is a lot to praise about the picture quality of this disc and the film is correctly framed at 1.85:1 showing the smallest black unused picture area evenly at the top and bottom of the screen. AUDIO QUALITY / The Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding of this soundtrack is fine. The problem is the soundtrack itself: it sucks. I am unimpressed with the audio in this film. It is very aggressive to the point of being too loud and uncomfortable to listen to. Thankfully the loudness isn’t for long periods of time; these loud sounds are just the exaggerated sound effects. Since they are so exaggerated I found it fatiguing and hard on the ears. I didn’t enjoy listening to this soundtrack. Most of the movie is mono since it is dialogue driven and there is the occasional stereo effect. Music occupies the left and right channels the most while the surrounds and LFE are hardly active. TACTILE FUN!! / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON There was an occasional amount of LFE in the film, enough that I found the tactile transducer to work well with the film. The heavy stomping with feet is what did the trick – it made me feel like I was in the same room as the character on screen. So even though it was only a brief moment, I’d leave the transducer on anyways. SPECIAL FEATURES / The special features included on this disc are a golden perfect handful. There are three commentaries: one with stars Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Sophie Monk, Valery Oritz and Tony Cox; another with writer Jason Friedberg and writer/director Aaron Seltzer; and one anti-commentary with film critics Scott Foundas of LA Weekly and Bob Strauss of LA Daily News. In each commentary they speak as a group rather than individual pieces put together – and they have fun together. The liveliest commentaries are the actors and the anti-commentary with the latter one just ripping apart all of the film’s flaws. You’ll enjoy them more than the film, especially to Monk’s reactions to her first time viewing of the new unrated scenes. As a 7th audio track, you can also select the laugh track that was recorded from the film test screening. I think they gave these people laughing gas through the film…oddly enough, it does make you want to laugh when you laugh with others. The audio is 2.0 stereo. Other features include: an ”On Dating” featurette (4.23, 16:9), a discussion with the actors and actresses worst dating experiences in their lives Date Movie “Quickie Version”, a useless six-and-a-half fast forward of the whole film audition tapes (1.45, 16:9) of the actors in the film (it would have been funnier to see those who bombed the audition) Romantic Screensavers: Sunset/Fireplace…yeah, you know the ones…you know those DVDs you can pick up at those stores and all it does is show a fireplace burning or a sunset…well, no need to get up outside and watch the sunset, just get cozy with your lover and watch it on the TV (I’m sorry but I can’t fathom that EVER) Andy’s Cherry Surprise is a game you can play; it asks you questions and if you get it right Andy works her tongue for you almost three minutes of outtakes (16:9) 12 extended/deleted scenes that follow the same humour as the film. It totals to over 18 minutes of new material, and really, being an unrated version, I’m not sure why many of these were kept out. They are enhanced for widescreen television but appears to be from some sort of video source and they also aren’t complete using temp music. Fox Movie Channel Presents: “Making of a Spoof” - an 18-minute spoof of Peter Jackson’s King Kong Video Diaries for the final scenes in this film. It has its moments but it’s also kind of slow. International trailer, three TV spots, five internet clips and the movie soundtrack spot IN THE END... If you like the parody of Spaceballs, Airplane! or The Naked Gun then you probably won’t like this film; it’s just not the same. If you liked Scary Movie than I’d advise you to check this one out since (as advertised) two of the six writers of that film wrote this one. It’s a rental for sure, if not a skip-over. Michael Osadciw May 30, 2006.