“All I Want” is a decent film that could have been great. Elijah Wood plays Jones Dylan (a quintessential Hollywood character name), a seventeen-year-old college freshman that decides that life has more to offer than formal education. Dropping out of college without attending a single class, he rents a nearby apartment and begins to get to know his neighbors. Before long, the underage Jones in enraptured in a tangled romance with two of his fellow boarders.
The plot of this film is interesting, but unfort…nately, the actors are not. Mandy Moore does a bit of overacting in her role as a… well… as an actress. Co-star Franka Potente gives a mediocre performance as a modern-day Ally Sheedy. Sadly, the constantly wonderful Elizabeth Perkins is not enough to save the overall poor acting in this film.
The movie’s dialog reads much more like a play than a film, replete with bad puns and an unnatural bounciness. Sometimes dialog can be too clever, as is the case here. Worst of all, however, is the over-use of Ally McBeal-style dream sequences, which feature Jones participating in shootouts, as well as mingling with Asian massage therapists and Middle-Eastern belly dancers. Where “Amelie” used these devices to further develop the story, they have the opposite effect here, taking the viewer away from the action just as the story gets rolling.
For a teen coming of age flick, this disc has some fantastic audio. I was completely surprised by the attention to detail on this track. Music cues come from all sides, completely surrounding the viewer. The sound stage is not just wide across the front of house, but it is a 360-degree experience. One scene involving an afternoon at the horse track stands out as a particularly delightful audio segment. Panning was used to great effect here, essentially making the horses run right through my living room. This brilliant mix should be the standard in DVD, and not the exception.
Unfortunately, I can’t be as kind when discussing this title’s video quality. One of the most annoying aspects of the visuals is that there is a soft edge along the top of the screen, next to the letterbox bar. At one point, some of the action actually bled into the bar a bit. This was unfortunately not done intentionally. The error is a distraction throughout the film.
Other problems include a transfer that comes across as slightly cloudy, with black levels on the grey side. Some interesting P.O.V. camera angles are utilized by the director, but the unfortunate problems with the transfer outweigh their effect.
This disc makes a tired showing in the special features department if ever I have seen one. A full screen trailer for the film is included, as well as widescreen trailers for similar coming-of-age movies, “The Debut” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. The only interesting thing here is the inclusion of the trailer for the Bennifer Bomb, “Gigli”. It is presented in widescreen format, complete with Dolby Digital 5.1, as if that would make any difference.
This is an interesting little film that frustrated me from start to finish. If the premise were in the hands of a more traditional filmmaker, I believe that this could have been a much better piece. Instead, it comes across as a network television prime time drama that never really pays off in the end.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailers