Timothy Olyphant, in the movie Go, refers to the comic strip The Family Circus in this manner: “it’s always there, in the lower right hand corner, just waiting to suck.” This is one of my all-time favorite movie quotes, and it applies quite nicely when discussing Marci X. Completed in 2000, this is the film that the studio put on the shelf, all the while knowing that eventually they would have to do something with it, because there it was, looming in the corner, waiting to suck.
Finally… the studio decided to drop it into theaters in the middle of the summer blockbuster season of 2003, where it would get lost in the shuffle of bigger films, yet still make as much money as possible, despite its paltry promotion budget. The plan worked, the film recouped some of its costs (albeit less than half), and Paramount got on with their lives.
Of course, if there is a way to make a few more bucks off of this film, Paramount is going to take advantage of it (and who could blame them?). With that in mind, Marci X was sent off to the land of DVD.
For those that don’t know, this is the story of a Jewish Manhattan socialite (Lisa Kudrow) who is suddenly put in the position of having to run a public relations campaign for a gangster rapper (Daman Wayans), to prove to the world that he is not the thug that he appears to be. If this sounds like a funny movie, then it should. It is. The problem with this film is not so much that it isn’t funny, as the fact that it is bipolar. Those jokes that hit are literally dead-on, roll in the floor funny. Those that miss are so bad that they are embarrassing.
Now, this is nowhere near the film that the studio thought they were making, but if you go into it with an open mind, it’s actually not that bad. This movie deserves its place among the great marginal comedies of all time. I’d put it up against Saturday afternoon Comedy Central faire such as Airheads and PCU any day.
For a movie that wasn’t shown any love by the studio, the disc comes complete with a pretty tight little soundtrack. Surrounds are utilized nicely, taking full advantage of the locations to add some ambient sounds right where they belong. Of particular note is the use of reverb during the scenes where a microphone is used. The resulting tones sound absolutely fantastic, and even better than many live concert DVDs. Furthermore, the LFE channel delivers some tight, deep bass on the musical numbers, and really adds a nice punch to the overall delivery. This is a surprisingly nice audio package, and it’s good to see that just because the movie was frowned upon, that didn’t stop the audio engineer from putting his best foot forward.
This is one of those discs that comes in both widescreen and full screen. Being a DVD aficionado, I of course opted for the former. Every bling is blingin’ on this video presentation, as the colors really pop. No bleed over was present, however, striking a nice balance between saturation and over-coloration. Black levels are deep, and Dr. S’s ice is bright and crisp.
Also surprising is the fact that the picture is virtually blemish-free. Every ho and every bottle of Cristal can be seen clearly and in (maybe too much) detail. As is the case with the audio, the technical guys did a great job on this disc.
I have noticed a disturbing trend as of late when it comes to trailers on DVD. There is noting that I hate more than purchasing a new movie, rushing home to check it out, and then being forced to sit through a string of previews before I can even access the main menu. Thankfully, Paramount has come up with an inventive new way to combat this situation. Upon insertion of the disc, viewers are shown an animated studio title card, followed by the on-screen choice of “Trailers” or “Main Menu”. Thank you, Paramount, for not hijacking my movie, and putting the choice back into the hands of the consumer.
Speaking of trailers, I hope you like them, because that’s all that is here in the way of special features. Lucky for the viewer, there are some pretty good ones. The upcoming theatrical releases Against the Ropes and Twisted are represented here, as well as the DVD releases of The Fighting Temptations and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.
In my opinion, Paramount missed a golden opportunity to vastly increase sales on this DVD, by not including an in-depth documentary on “when movies go bad”. If they had taken a page from Criterion’s excellent release of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, and made a brutally honest piece on the tight spot they were in with this film, it would have totally changed audience perception of the piece, and increased DVD sales at the same time.
While this is certainly not one of the best comedies I have ever seen, it is better than you might think. There may be a lot of junk here, but what is funny is very, very funny. If you enjoyed Josie and the Pussycats, then you will probably like the rap version. Give it up for the theatrical equivalent of a Will Smith album, yo.
Special Features List