Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 5th, 2006
Game tester Allen Covert is evicted from his apartment, and winds up rooming with his grandmother (Doris Roberts) and her two friends, the stone-on-meds Shirley Knight and the sexually predatory Shirley Jones. He attempts to keep this rather humiliating set-up secret from co-workers and sexy new boss/potential love interest Linda Cardinelli.
All of this is tied in with game development, and the film is essentially an extended product placement for the Xbox, thus making one question…the timing of the film’s release: just in time for the arrival of the Xbox 360, and so making much of the promotion rather pointless. But then, “pointless” is a pretty good way of describing this effort. The jokes are strained, tired and dull, no matter how hard they try to be vulgar (Covert masturbating to an imitation Lara Croft doll is pathetic rather than amusing). Efforts to prove gamers are not socially maladjusted losers will be knocked back a good two or three decades by this.
The sound is arguably where this disc is at its strongest. The environmental effects are good, especially during crowd scenes. The dialogue is clear and without distortion, so you won’t miss a word of the deathless prose. The score is energetic, but the mix privileges the rear speakers too much, creating a rather disconcerting imbalance.
If ever a movie cried out for the compositional possibilities of 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, this is it (I keed, I keed). The rather dull cinematography is married to a rather dull transfer. The colours are acceptable, but sometimes a bit misty. The image is clear enough, and there are no grain or edge enhancement issues to speak of.
There are two commentary tracks. The first is by director Nicholaus Goossen. This is his first feature film, and clearly his first commentary track as well, as it depends too much on rather dryly listing off facts and pointing out the obvious. The other track, by Covert, co-star Peter Dante and co-writer Nick Swardson is livelier, but is too heavy on the banter. There are 11 deleted/extended scenes, and then a bunch of featurettes of very variable (generally low) interest. “Covert Whacks It” is behind the scenes footage of the aforementioned masturbation scene. “Monkey” is a promo piece about the chimp in the film. “Unsmoked Material” looks like a montage of outtakes. “Smoke This” is a pointless montage of the weed-related scenes. The “Casting Session” episode is about the casting of Grandma and friends. The music video “Another Day” by the Twenty Twos is accompanied by a making-of featurette of its own. There is also the trailer and an ad for the soundtrack. As well, you can watch the film in R or Unrated versions. Joy. The menu is fully animated and scored.
Boob jokes, weed jokes, game jokes. If you’re already laughing, congratulations. Otherwise, steer clear.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- “Covert Whacks It” Featuette
- “Monkey” Featurette
- “Scenes That Went Up In Smoke” Montage
- Deleted/Extended Scenes
- “Smoke This” Montage
- “Casting Session” Episode
- Music Video
- Music Video Making-of Featurette