Kate Hudson is the golden girl at a modelling agency, scouting out talent and being very much the apple of ruthless boss Helen Mirren’s eye. She enjoys her cosmopolitan Manhattan lifestyle to the fullest, and then everything goes to smash. Her elder sister is killed in a car accident, leaving the care of her young’uns not to middle sister Joan Cusack (humourless and annoying) but to Hudson, who is promptly fired by Mirren and forced to move to Queens and work at a car dealership. Fortunately… sexy Lutheran minister John Corbett is nearby to provide the romance.
Urrgh. I think we get the message. Girl wants to have fun, so she must be punished by losing her powerful lifestyle, and then will learn to love her punishment as she adapts to a working class existence just as phony and imaginary as her previous life. Garry Marshall seems to have devoted his life now to making these utterly plastic romantic comedies. How can he look himself in the mirror?
Some odd decisions have been made with the 5.1 track. The surround effects are minimal, and the rear speakers are primarily reserved for the score. If there is no sound other than the music (as in the opening credits), the score is almost entirely coming from the front. If there is dialogue or other sound, the background music shifts almost entirely (and very abruptly) the rear. The effect is rather artificial. Otherwise, everything is crisp and clean, but not terribly exciting or immersive.
The picture, however, is very impressive. The colours are vibrant and very warm and rich. The image is extremely sharp, and free of grain or edge enhancement halos. The blacks are terrific too, and the picture is never murky. All in all, this is one fabulous transfer.
Garry Marshall, in full garrulous mode, is joined by the writers on the commentary. Everybody is very pleased with how things turned out, and boast about how, for instance, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when a grieving Hudson curls up in the closet with the orphans. (In face, the trick is so cheap and manipulative, you wonder that it isn’t taken as the funniest moment of the film.) Marshall also introduces each of six deleted scenes. The extras are rounded out by a blooper reel, Liz Phair’s video for “Extraordinary” and some bonus trailers. The menu’s main screen is scored and has some minor animation (shadows reflected in a fridge door). The other screens are scored.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes with Director’s Introductions
- Liz Phair “Extraordinary” Music Video
- Blooper Reel