Fox’s recent set of Family Features includes a couple of films aimed at older viewers, and are that rare thing: the smart teen comedy. This is one (the other is Breaking Away).
Chris Makepeace plays Clifford, the new kid in school. The son of a hotel manager, he’s a fairly laid-back sort, dealing without blinking with his flamboyant grandmother (Ruth Gordon of Harold and Maude) and the various characters at the hotel. School becomes a trial, however, when he runs afoul o… Matt Dillon, resident bully. The resourceful Clifford hires the huge outcast Adam Baldwin to be his bodyguard, and the financial arrangement soon becomes a mutually rewarding friendship.
The sound is strong, though far from astonishing. Considerable care has been paid to creating a good surround mix from a twenty-plus-year-old soundtrack, and while there is a somewhat thin quality to the sound, this is largely a function of age. Otherwise, there is a goodly amount of rear speaker action on the part of sound effects (especially in crowd scenes) as well as music.
The print gets off to a somewhat rocky start, with considerable grain and some damage in the opening shots. Thereafter, the picture improves enormously, and is generally very good. The disc offers you the choice of both the 1.85:1 widescreen and 1.33:1 formats. The colours are solid (if unspectacular), the fleshtones natural, and there are no transfer difficulties that I could spot.
The minimal extras consist of the theatrical trailer and five TV spots. As you can probably imagine, the menu is similarly no-frills.
A sensitive comedy with well-drawn characters, this is highly recommended, though it isn’t suitable for very young viewers.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots