Buddy Young Jr. (Billy Crystal) is in the twilight of his career. Once he had his own television show, but his self-destructive impulses and violent temper torpedoed that (not to mention increasingly alienating his loved ones). Now a senior citizen, he is still trying to make a go of it, still making life miserable for his long-suffering brother. The film flashes back and forth, showing us Buddy’s rise and fall in the past, and his current attempts to make something remotely resembling a com…back.
Crystal has good feel for characters and period, not to mention the style of jokes that Buddy would be telling. False notes ring, though, when characters seem to find Buddy’s non-stop patter more hilarious than it really is (it’s as if we were watching The Rupert Pupkin Story, as scripted by same), and the sentimental element is pure treacle, in family-size helpings.
The soundtrack gets the job done, but certainly won’t knock your socks off. The sound is crisp and clear, and there is no dialogue distortion. The music has a decent surround presence, but the sound effects do so only minimally, and the left/right separation isn’t particularly noticeable.
Not the strongest video I’ve seen. The colours are quite soft and drab, at least at first. They improve, but we never achieve perfection. The picture is also a bit grainy, and the edge enhancement is perceptible. Otherwise, the transfer appears to be trouble-free. The picture format is 1.85:1 anamorphic.
The menu is fully animated and scored on the main page, but is silent and still thereafter. The main feature is Billy Crystal’s commentary (joined halfway through by David Paymer). Crystal’s take is interesting, revealing much that is autobiographical about the film. There are three featurettes: “The Buddy Young Jr. Story” (the history of the character, from his earliest Saturday Night Live appearances); “See What We Did?” (a closer look at the autobiographical elements); and “Make-Up!” (how the make-up was done). All three are more interesting than most promotional featurettes. Crystal also introduces a collection of deleted scenes. Finally, we have a gag reel and the trailer.
The film is entertaining enough, though predictable in virtually every aspect. Crystal’s commentary adds considerable interest to the proceedings, however.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- 3 Featurettes
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- Theatrical Trailer