GRANDMA’S BOY UNRATED Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 2006 Film Length: 95 minutes (unrated) Film Length: 94 minutes (rated) Genre: Comedy Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Theatrical Ratio Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English 5.1 Surround Spanish 2.0 Surround French 2.0 Surround Subtitles: Spanish, French Film Rating: and Unrated Release Date: May 9, 2006. Film Rating: / Allen Covert (Alex), Linda Cardellini (Samantha), Peter Dante (Dante), Doris Robert (Grandma Lilly), Shirley Jones (Grace), Shirley Knight (Bea), Nick Swardson (Jeff), Joel Moore (J.P.) Written by: Berry Wernick, Allen Covert & Nick Swardson Directed by: Nick Goossen Sex. Drugs. Nakedness. Rude language... And proud of it! I’ll say it right away: I loved Grandma’s Boy! It’s silly humour that any man’s wife will cringe at because they’ll find it so, well, stupid or possibly even repulsive. But more power to the man because it’s one less mushy title on the DVD shelf. I’d like to think of this film as one of those wonders of humour; how can the most obvious of daily situations be turned into something even more hilarious on screen by the use of over-exaggeration? It worked for Mel Brooks and he had no problems rehashing similar haa-haa humour in many of his films. And men, it’s hearing that long drawn out unimpressed haaaa-haaaas from your wife/girlfriend that lets you know you picked the right movie for you. After all, men are the kings of corny humour, and with this I’m proud to tell you Grandma’s Boy is the latest concoction from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. Alex is a 36-year old video game tester who works at a company called Brainasium with all of his game brethren. What a job these guys have; they sit in cubicles all day developing and testing video games for X-Box and are surrounded by action figures and take breaks trying to beat each other at games. I’m wondering if this is how it really is behind the scenes – and I guess I’ll find out sooner or later since I have a relative at Microsoft who manages guys like these and I plan on seeing him this year. In any case, it’s the dream of many men to get paid to do this and ranks second to reviewing DVDs So life seems perfect for Alex. He has this awesome job. He lives with his roommate smoking pot and has a wonderful collection of bongs. That is until his landlord kicks them out because (unknowingly) his roommate has been spending the rent money on beautiful Philippine hookers. Yikes! Now Alex has to find somewhere else to live. Alex tries to sleep over at his friend young Jeff’s house. Jeff works with him but still lives with his parents and wears footie pyjamas. They have no idea Alex is staying overnight - and as his mother will soon find out, Alex is the newest coming attraction in his hilarious but miserable attempt in making a first impression. So finally, after these failed attempts in finding a place, Alex’s grandma really wants him to stay at her house with her two roommates and he reluctantly accepts. But there is a problem: Alex has to look cool to his friends at work so there is NO WAY that he’ll tell them he’s staying at his Grandma’s. Instead, his story is that he’s staying at a girl’s house that has two girls for roommates and they do quite a number on him every night. Alex falls asleep at work and this is his only excuse. The truth is that grandma and her roommates have him working house chores starting before 6am. Poor guy! The film is hilarious as Alex tries to work around this situation at work. He’s also trying to impress Samantha, a beautiful young woman hired from an outside firm to keep the employees in line and make sure a video game, Eternal Deathslayer 3, is finished before a deadline. The list of characters is great too: Alex’s pot-smoking buddy Dante with a karate-chopping monkey, as well as an egotistical video game self-labelled genius named J.P.; a tall, geeky, Marilyn Manson without makeup look-alike who believes he’s in The Matrix as well as part robot. Cameos from David Spade, Rob Schneider, Kevin Nealon – and we’ve got ourselves a great movie for a Saturday night that’s sure to get your woman turned on after she sees it...(you could only wish)... This disc comes with both rated and unrated versions on the same disc. The movie can be crude with humour and language and has scenes of Dante’s ass and some nice large cans, so what is the difference? I have no idea because I haven’t seen the theatrical version and I’m not sitting through both versions of the film just to tell you. I’ll let the membership discuss it. What boggles my mind is that the runtimes are very similar: the rated version is 1.34.03 and the unrated is 1.34.45. This isn’t a huge difference but it’s also common with unrated cuts these days. But the press release I’ve received claims a 5-minute difference in run time. How they came up with this is beyond me because that’s not what is on the disc! VIDEO QUALITY / The video quality is a bit of a disappointment so I’ll get the bad stuff out of the way first (everyone wants the bad stuff first!) With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the image is dim throughout the film. It’s not at the level where you’d have to squint to see the image, but based on the countless other films I’ve watched I was surprised to see the light output a bit lower than usual. The video also looks a little blurry at times too. Much of the film lacks detailed resolution and all I can say is that it’s disappointing for a new release. It’s very 2-dimensional looking. Compression artefacts and associated noise is also noticeable continually throughout the film in minor amounts. Other than these issues, the rest of the picture is fine. Colours are natural looking and black level is good as well. Skin tones are on par with reality but lacks the silkiness and glossy look of what we now get to see on HD-DVD…but that isn’t a fair comparison! AUDIO QUALITY / This is the fourth DVD I’ve reviewed from Fox and will say that I’m unimpressed with the audio. Did they get the same sound designers for the recent batch of films? The audio sucks in the sense that it’s unexciting! It’s supposed to be a 5.1 soundtrack but little is used beyond the three front channels. I feel like I’m repeating myself here lately but this is just a regular boring movie soundtrack that adds more fuel to the argument that home theatre will never be hi-fi. If soundtracks like this keep coming out I’m going to have to agree sooner or later. But for now, I’ll fight for hi-fi for home theatre soundtracks. Given my position, the audio is boring. Period. The music in the film is from a pop song list and really has no good place in the film. As scenes transition from one location to another, a song kicks in for only about 5-15 seconds and then fades. The song doesn’t seem to attach to the scene for any particular reason other than to have the song in the movie and later sell the soundtrack on CD. Because of this marketing strategy, the music in this movie stinks and doesn’t make a connection with any of the scenes. 20th Century Fox’s The Ringer (look for an upcoming review on HTF) also suffers from this poor strategy. Dialogue is located in the centre channel exclusively. There is very little panning of sounds between channels too. The left and right channels serve for hard left-right sounds and music, but not much beyond this. The surrounds are used sparingly and does little to wrap the audio around the listener. LFE, as it should be in this film, is used minimally. Any bass required in this comedy is in the music and that bass is in the main channels. Fidelity seems limited in terms of making sounds sound real. They are sound effects but just used as such. There is little effort in making them sound like there is depth and space all around them. I never once felt like I could jump into the soundspace. I don’t want to call myself a picky listener but the problem is that I know good sound and I’m just not hearing it. Most of you are probably not as critical as me but will be pleased to know that soundtrack does sound balanced through most frequencies except for being a little heavy in the lower midbass. TACTILE FUN!! ZERO / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: OFF Since there is little LFE, there is no need to keep the transducer on. When there was a hint of LFE it was so minimal audible and in terms of tactile effects. I questioned why the channel was even used. SPECIAL FEATURES / First off, both rated and unrated versions of this film is included on the DVD. It’s a dual-layered disc so each film is located on its own layer. The disc also includes two audio commentaries! The first one is from Nick Goossen. He’s relatively quiet and doesn’t make good entertainment. He talks specifically about production and filming but needs a few coffees to perk him up. The second commentary is better. It features actors Allen Covert, Nick Swardson and Peter Dante. These guys chat it up more – and while not necessarily funny doing it, it is more informative and entertaining. The rest of the features are basically outtakes – and a lot of them! Each featurette’s title is self explanatory so I’m not going to go into detail with them. Covet Wacks It (4m09s) (16:9) (interviews, outtakes) Monkey (5m45s) (16:9) (interviews, outtakes) Scenes that Went Up in Smoke (6m55s) (4:3) – this featurette is a collection of outtakes to the beat of techno music. Many of these scenes are duplicated in their entirety in the deleted scenes option. Deleted Scenes – there are ten total and equal to about 8 minutes. They are not widescreen enhanced Other material (4m09s) features more outtakes and variations of lines. Smoke This (1m44s) – all about weed in the film Fox Movie Channel Presents – Casting Session (8m07s) (4:3) – all about picking actors for the film and whether or not the three older women would do the film. They are interviewed and give their opinions on it. Music Video: “Another Day” by the Twenty Twos (3m02s) Making “Another Day” (2m16s) (16:9) Theatrical Trailer (4:3) IN THE END... In short is this movie funny? Hell ya! I loved it and you will too. It’s brainless humour and it’s what makes days worth living. I knew from the film’s opening credits, integrated in the classic Namco game Galaga, the film would be amusing. I was right! While I wish the A/V were better, it won’t get in the way of my enjoyment of this film. Michael Osadciw May 8, 2006.